Reading in the Brain: The New Science of How We Read

Overview


"Brings together the cognitive, the cultural, and the neurological in an elegant, compelling narrative. A revelatory work."
-Oliver Sacks, M.D.

The act of reading is so easily taken for granted that we forget what an astounding feat it is. How can a few black marks on white paper evoke an entire universe of meanings? It's even more amazing when we consider that we read using a primate brain that evolved to serve an entirely different purpose. ...

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Reading in the Brain: The New Science of How We Read

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Overview


"Brings together the cognitive, the cultural, and the neurological in an elegant, compelling narrative. A revelatory work."
-Oliver Sacks, M.D.

The act of reading is so easily taken for granted that we forget what an astounding feat it is. How can a few black marks on white paper evoke an entire universe of meanings? It's even more amazing when we consider that we read using a primate brain that evolved to serve an entirely different purpose. In this riveting investigation, Stanislas Dehaene explores every aspect of this human invention, from its origins to its neural underpinnings. A world authority on the subject, Dehaene reveals the hidden logic of spelling, describes pioneering research on hiw we process languages, and takes us into a new appreciation of the brain and its wondrous capacity to adapt.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143118053
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/26/2010
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 253,870
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


STANISLAS DEHAENE is the director of the Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit in Saclay, France, and the professor of experimental cognitive psychology at the Collge de France. He is the author of Reading in the Brain.
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Table of Contents

Introduction The New Science of Reading 1

From Neurons to Education 2

Putting Neurons into Culture 3

The Mystery of the Reading Ape 4

Biological Unity and Cultural Diversity 6

A Reader's Guide 7

Chapter 1 How Do We Read? 11

The Eye: A Poor Scanner 13

The Search for Invariants 18

Amplifying Differences 21

Every Word Is a Tree 21

The Silent Voice 25

The Limits of Sound 29

The Hidden Logic of Our Spelling System 31

The Impossible Dream of Transparent Spelling 34

Two Routes for Reading 38

Mental Dictionaries 41

An Assembly of Daemons 42

Parallel Reading 46

Active Letter Decoding 47

Conspiracy and Competition in Reading 49

From Behavior to Brain Mechanisms 51

Chapter 2 The Brains Letterbox 53

Joseph-Jules Déjerine's Discovery 54

Pure Alexia 57

A Lesion Revealed 58

Modern Lesion Analysis 61

Decoding the Reading Brain 65

Reading Is Universal 69

A Patchwork of Visual Preferences 72

How Fast Do We Read? 76

Electrodes in the Brain 78

Position Invariance 82

Subliminal Reading 88

How Culture Fashions the Brain 93

The Brains of Chinese Readers 97

Japanese and Its Two Scripts 98

Beyond the Letterbox 100

Sound and Meaning 104

From Spelling to Sound 107

Avenues to Meaning 109

A Cerebral Tidal Bore 113

Brain Limits on Cultural Diversity 116

Reading and Evolution 119

Chapter 3 The Reading Ape 121

Of Monkeys and Men 123

Neurons for Objects 125

Grandmother Cells 129

An Alphabet in the Monkey Brain 133

Proto-Letters 137

The Acquisition of Shape 141

The Learning Instinct 142

Neuronal Recycling 144

Birth of a Culture 148

Neurons for Reading 150

Bigram Neurons 153

A Neuronal Word Tree 158

How Many Neurons for Reading? 160

Simulating the Reader's Cortex 163

Cortical Biases That Shape Reading 164

Chapter 4 Inventing Reading 171

The Universal Features of Writing Systems 173

A Golden Section for Writing Systems 176

Artificial Signs and Natural Shapes 178

Prehistoric Precursors of Writing 180

From Counting to Writing 182

The Limits of Pictography 184

The Alphabet: A Great Leap Forward 190

Vowels: The Mothers of Reading 192

Chapter 5 Learning to Read 195

The Birth of a Future Reader 197

Three Steps for Reading 199

Becoming Aware of Phonemes 200

Graphemes and Phonemes: A Chicken and Egg Problem 202

The Orthographic Stage 204

The Brain of a Young Reader 204

The Illiterate Brain 208

What Does Reading Make Us Lose? 210

When Letters Have Colors 215

From Neuroscience to Education 218

Reading Wars 219

The Myth of Whole-Word Reading 222

The Inefficiency of the Whole-Language Approach 225

A Few Suggestions for Educators 228

Chapter 6 The Dyslexic Brain 235

What Is Dyslexia? 237

Phonological Trouble 238

The Biological Unity of Dyslexia 243

A Prime Suspect: The Left Temporal Lobe 246

Neuronal Migrations 249

The Dyslexic Mouse 251

The Genetics of Dyslexia 253

Overcoming Dyslexia 256

Chapter 7 Reading and Symmetry 263

When Animals Mix Left and Right 267

Evolution and Symmetry 269

Symmetry Perception and Brain Symmetry 270

Dr. Orton's Modern Followers 274

The Pros and Cons of a Symmetrical Brain 276

Single-Neuron Symmetry 277

Symmetrical Connections 280

Dormant Symmetry 284

Breaking the Mirror 288

Broken Symmetry ... or Hidden Symmetry? 289

Symmetry, Reading, and Neuronal Recycling 293

A Surprising Case of Mirror Dyslexia 294

Chapter 8 Toward a Culture of Neurons 301

Resolving the Reading Paradox 303

The Universality of Cultural Forms 304

Neuronal Recycling and Cerebral Modules 306

Toward a List of Cultural Invariants 308

Why Are We the Only Cultural Species? 312

Uniquely Human Plasticity? 314

Reading Other Minds 315

A Global Neuronal Workspace 317

Conclusion The Future of Reading 325

Acknowledgments 329

Notes 331

Bibliography 346

Index 376

Figure Credits 387

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 18 of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 26, 2009

    Many sample test where he told me what I experienced--but he was wrong!

    This author makes a lot of different claims about how reading works and gives various samples of text so you can see for yourself. What I saw was that almost nothing worked the way he then told me it had. Something is fundamentally wrong with this book and its claims.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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