Research shows that dyslexia has a big advantage that is not mentioned

(ORDO NEWS) — The modern world is sewn together with the threads of the written language. For people with dyslexia who have a reading disorder, an endless tangle of words can seem like an obstacle to survival.

This neurological disease, in which decoding is difficult, has long been viewed solely as a learning disorder, but in a world full of unknown things, it can benefit people and their society.

University of Cambridge psychologists Helen Taylor and Martin David Westergaard have revisited the traditional view of dyslexia as a disadvantage, suggesting that its neurological features may be beneficial in other circumstances.

In particular, they suggest that a brain that has a hard time interpreting written words can more easily explore the environment for useful cues that improve decision making.

“A deficit-focused view of dyslexia doesn’t tell the whole story,” Taylor says.

“This study offers a novel concept that will help us better understand the cognitive benefits of people with dyslexia.”

Dyslexia is characterized by difficulty converting the visual format of a written word into a meaningful set of sounds – what literacy refers to as “phonemes”.

It is thought to affect between 5 and 20 percent of the population, and typically the ability to read is delayed by a year or so, preventing them from continuing to learn as their peers develop.

The consequences of such a delay in a standardized education system can be profound, reducing self-confidence and self-esteem and potentially leading to a range of social problems.

Reading engages a range of visual, linguistic, and attentional networks in the brain. Since up to 80 percent of the signs of this disease depend on hereditary factors, it is likely that something in a person’s genes changes the way these networks work in general.

Because dyslexia affects such a wide spectrum of the world’s population and is so heavily influenced by our genes, it makes sense that evolution has somehow favored it.

Against the background of the evolution of mankind, the culture of reading and writing appeared quite recently. Our shared reliance on effective literacy skills came even later, meaning that the detrimental impact of dyslexia on individual cognition would have been negligible until recent generations.

For decades, psychologists have noted that those who show signs of dyslexia tend to be better at global abstract and spatial reasoning. They also tend to be more resourceful and better at predicting outcomes.

This may be a coping strategy in a world that values ​​the ability to extract information from walls of text. However, Taylor and Westergaard believe that this is not the case.

“We believe that the difficulties faced by people with dyslexia are the result of a cognitive trade-off between learning new information and using existing knowledge, with a positive propensity to explore, which may explain the increased abilities observed in some areas, such as discovery , inventions and creativity,” says Taylor.

From a psychological point of view, our minds are limited by the constant tug-of-war called the compromise between exploration and exploitation. To make a decision, we must be confident that the information we have is accurate and will lead to a predictable outcome.

We can wait until we have better information, risking losing lunch (or worse, becoming lunch ourselves) in the process. However, act too quickly, and we may not know why our decision turned out to be wrong.

“Striking a balance between seeking new opportunities and taking advantage of particular choices is the key to adaptation and survival and is at the heart of many of the decisions we make in our daily lives,” says Taylor.

In another life, dyslexia will not manifest itself as an inability to translate scratches into sounds in our head – it will contribute to the development of those quick decision-making skills that can make a difference in the life or death of our society.”

This scheme reflects a broader trend in pathology that sees neurodiversity as driven in large part by the pressures of a changing environment.

The important thing is not that any one disorder is a superpower in disguise, but that the biggest obstacles are factors that we can directly control. Changing parenting methods, for example, or discussing an ability that is exceptionally harmful, can be a much more effective “cure” than any pill or therapy.


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