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Unit 9: Reading

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Psychology 2134A/B
Marc Joanisse

Unit 9Reading How Do We Read What happens in your head when you read a word That is what kind of information are you using to translate a visual image of letters on a page into a linguistic code And just as importantly what linguistic code are you accessing to do it In this class we will look at answering these important questions How Does the Brain Read If we look at what is active in the brain when a person is reading words we see that its not just one part of the brain that is active Instead readers are activating a large number of brain regions coloured in orangered in the brain image belowThe fact that there is no single reading centre is importantit tells us that reading is more than just a single cognitive task Instead it involves coordinating different types of knowledge Here is a simple model of what is happening as you recognize a wordOur eyes take visual input and identify letter features These are used to access the spelling of a word which in turn must be translated into either the sound of a word its phonological form or the meaning of the word its semantic form Theories of Reading We know lots about words orthography phonology semantics syntax How do we represent this knowledge Modular theory we represent words locally as a list of words Connectionist theory use a distributed code in which words are represented as bundles of information Where Does Reading Come From As we covered in earlier lectures humans evolved to use language But did we also evolve to read It seems this is not the case The first evidence of written words is from around 3500 BC or 5500 years ago From an evolutionary
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