Poetry News

You're not rude, you're just a close reader

By Harriet Staff

The face of someone you once met long ago at a party may have been supplanted by the latest issue of Poetry. Science: Doing its part to give you high-brow excuses for social faux pas.

[MRI brain scans] scans firstly confirmed which regions of the brain  are associated with reading: as expected, the visual word form area,  which is known to enable people to link sounds with written symbols,  became active during reading, demonstrating that it plays an important  role. Unsurprisingly, those who were better readers had more activation  in this area when they were reading compared with the others. And when  volunteers listened to spoken sentences, all their brains showed similar  responses in the visual word form area.

But when the researchers showed  participants pictures of faces, the visual word form area of those who  could read was much less active than that of participants who could not  read. So, the researchers speculate, learning to read competes with face  recognition ability – in this part of the brain at least.

Originally Published: November 16th, 2010