Dr. Goodword’s Language Blog

So what is Reading, Anyway?

Harvard Visual Cognition LabOne of the truths uncovered by psychological research over the past half century is that language involves four faculties: reading, writing, speaking, and comprehension. While all four faculties are interrelated, they are physically located in different parts of the brain. Our writing skills are located around the memory associate area of whichever hand we use to write with, reading skills center around the memory association area of the visual processing, while speaking and comprehension are associated with areas that have their own names: Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas. Broca’s area is just behind the left eye and Wernicke’s area is not far away; just over the left ear.

A lot of research has been conducted to test Broca’s and Wernicke’s area—that is probably why they are named. But far less research has looked into reading and writing. Now the Visual Cognition Lab at Harvard is beginning to remedy that omission with a series of studies on learning letters and they need online subjects.

What this means is that not only can you learn the results of this research even before the New York Times, you can be a part of it. It doesn’t hurt and costs only 5 minutes of your time. Dr. Goodword has taken the test and thinks that this is good work and deserves the support of all of us interested in language. Click below (or the Harvard insignia above) to see what it is all about.

Of course, the experiment will only work if you do not know what is going on until you have completed the tests. Any mental preparation would contaminate the results.

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