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How can humans be prewired to recognize words? Yet, say researchers, we are…


Here’s the story:

Zeynep Saygin at Ohio State and her colleagues challenged a long-standing belief that human brains are not pre-adapted to learn language:

Humans are born with a part of the brain that is prewired to be receptive to seeing words and letters, setting the stage at birth for people to learn how to read, a new study suggests.

Analyzing brain scans of newborns, researchers found that this part of the brain – called the “visual word form area” (VWFA) – is connected to the language network of the brain.

“That makes it fertile ground to develop a sensitivity to visual words – even before any exposure to language,” said Zeynep Saygin, senior author of the study and assistant professor of psychology at The Ohio State University. …

In his last book, The Kingdom of Speech, American novelist Tom Wolfe (1930–2018) made clear how much difference speech really makes to human beings, the way it sets us apart from animals (whether we like it or not).

News, “Researchers: Humans are prewired to recognize words” at Mind Matters News

So, contrary to what psychologists had supposed, the ability to seek meaning is built in, not taught.

Also: How is human language different from animal signals? (Michael Egnor) What do we need from language that we cannot get from signals alone?


The real reason why only human beings speak. (Michael Egnor)Language is a tool for abstract thinking—a necessary tool for abstraction—and humans are the only animals who think abstractly

Long-standing belief that it's just learned? In speech and hearing circles, all of this is standard knowledge. The hard-wired brain sectors for meaning and phonetics (and reading and writing) are well established, and therapists learn which are likely to be affected by different types of strokes or brain damage. This particular disconnect between academic branches has ALSO been evident for a long time. Ordinary knowledge in S&H doesn't penetrate to "social" "scientists" or theorists, who continue speculating about their BELIEFS while therapists use the KNOWLEDGE for good. polistra
It appears that language would’ve had to of come first and then those centers of the brain would’ve had to developed However in evolutionary psychology they want to find modules for the brain so this is something that they definitely want to find I’m sure they’ll try to pin a gene to this as well AaronS1978

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