A European study has confirmed what most people already knew. Being able to read is good for your brain.
Cognitive neuroscientist Stanislas Dehaene from the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Medicale in Gif-sur-Yvette in France and his partners from Belgium, Brazil and Portugal, used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study the brains of 63 adults.
Out of these adults 10 were illiterate, 22 learned to read as adults, and 31 had learned to read as children.
The scientists found that the brains of adults who could read had more dynamic responses to printed words in regions of the brain that process visual information. There were similar responses in areas of the brain that respond to spoken information.
These changes were observed in both groups of people who could read.
The illiterate subjects used a larger area of the region of the brain that responds to images of faces than in the literate subjects. This could mean literate people are less skilled at recognizing faces, and experiments are underway to see if this is true.
Some people are commenting on the Physorg.comstory wondering how this is supposed to be news exactly. Most people kind of figured that people who read had more brain activity when exposed to words.
This is the kind of thing that may not sit well with European taxpayers. Knowing that the public universities are spending lots of public research monies to come up with these “duh really?” moments.
Maybe they’ll do a study soon to confirm that the French do indeed like to drink wine.
The study is more serious and informative than simply confirming that people who can read have more active brains. But it is funny to make fun of Europeans for spending lots of money on things that most kindergarten teachers could have told them.