Saturday June 17, 2017
Illiterate adults can rewire their brains by learning to read
more stories from this episode
- An iceberg the size of P.E.I. is about to break off Antarctica
- Newly discovered fish are being eaten by voracious invasive predator
- Brainy elk become bulletproof by outsmarting hunters
- For Father's Day: Can animals teach you how to be a better Dad?
- Illiterate adults can rewire their brains by learning to read
- Bees are disappearing - can pollinating flies pick up the slack?
- Full Episode
There's nothing quite like cracking open a new book and letting the mind go where the chapters take you. But when it comes to the act of reading, we tend to take it for granted. We see words on our computer screen, in books, on street signs. We read them and usually, we don't think a thing about it.
But the reality is, there are still many people — who even as adults — do not know how to read. For those who do choose to open up the world of words for themselves as they get older, the result can be life changing. And according to a new study in the journal Scientific Advances, when a grown-up learns to read, the transformation that takes place in their brain is nothing short of profound.
Dr. Falk Huettig is the senior author of that study. He is a Senior Investigator at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, Netherlands. He says since reading is a relatively new cultural phenomena, their brains are forced to recycle and reorganize a couple of different parts of the brain for this new skill. And as Dr. Huettig says, this is proof of how flexible adult brains can be.