Brain asymmetry affects human reading ability

(ORDO NEWS) — Mankind first began to read and only then to study the structure of the brain. Then read about the study of the brain. New facts about the shape of the brain and the impact of this on cognitive abilities are on the way.

In the academic world there is a professional concept – “Phonological processing”. By this we mean the ability to look at abstract symbols and match them with sounds, which is one of the key skills in becoming a competent reader.

The new study tested two opposing hypotheses about how brain structures are related to reading skills. And, oddly enough, both hypotheses turned out to be close to the truth.

The human brain is inherently asymmetric. It is believed that some structures on the left side have a significant influence in the process of speech processing.

So, according to the hypothesis of “cerebral lateralization”, the more asymmetry here, the better the ability to read.

On the other hand, it is possible that the presence of asymmetry in the left side of the brain simply enhances the traits required for reading.

This is called the “canalization hypothesis”. Thus, having more asymmetry simply puts the person in the middle range of reading skills.

Brain asymmetry affects human reading ability 2

What Scientists Have Found

It turns out that depending on the level of analysis whether in the entire hemisphere of the brain or in certain areas both hypotheses have a right to exist.

In particular, the Medical University of South Carolina team found that reading ability did increase with more asymmetry in the left hemisphere, but only when looking at the most asymmetrical structures, essentially taking into account the hemisphere as a whole.

“Our results showed that at the population level, structural brain asymmetries are associated with the normal development of the ability to process speech sounds, which is important for the development of reading skills.

The hypotheses of cerebral lateralization and canalization may be valid, but at different levels of cerebral organization and function,” says lead author Mark Eckert.


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