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

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Penguin, Nov 12, 2009 - Science - 400 pages
A renowned cognitive neuroscientist?s fascinating and highly informative account of how the brain acquires reading

How can a few black marks on a white page evoke an entire universe of sounds and meanings? In this riveting investigation, Stanislas Dehaene provides an accessible account of the brain circuitry of reading and explores what he calls the ?reading paradox?: Our cortex is the product of millions of years of evolution in a world without writing, so how did it adapt to recognize words? Reading in the Brain describes pioneering research on how we process language, revealing the hidden logic of spelling and the existence of powerful unconscious mechanisms for decoding words of any size, case, or font.

Dehaene?s research will fascinate not only readers interested in science and culture, but also educators concerned with debates on how we learn to read, and who wrestle with pathologies such as dyslexia. Like Steven Pinker, Dehaene argues that the mind is not a blank slate: Writing systems across all cultures rely on the same brain circuits, and reading is only possible insofar as it fits within the limits of a primate brain. Setting cutting-edge science in the context of cultural debate, Reading in the Brain is an unparalleled guide to a uniquely human ability.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Scarchin - LibraryThing

Not what I thought it would be. VERY technical and difficult book written for scientists and medical types. Bottom line - what goes on in your brain while you read is un-freaking-believable. I just saved you 10 hours of misery. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - castiron - LibraryThing

Notes so far: Generic "he". Ugh. Come on, people, it's the 21st century. From the intro: "Nothing in our evolution could have prepared us to absorb language through vision." So, is he arguing that ... Read full review


The Search for Invariants
The Silent Voice
The Hidden Logic of Our Spelling System
Two Routes for Reading
Modern Lesion Analysis
A Great Leap Forward
The Birth of a Future Reader
A Chicken and Egg Problem
The Biological Unity of Dyslexia
Neuronal Migrations
The Genetics of Dyslexia

Decoding the Reading Brain
A Patchwork of Visual Preferences
How Fast Do We Read?
Position Invariance
Subliminal Reading
The Brains of Chinese Readers
Sound and Meaning
Avenues to Meaning
Brain Limits on Cultural Diversity
Of Monkeys and
A Golden Section for Writing Systems
From Counting to Writing
Evolution and Symmetry
Dr Ortons Modern Followers
Symmetrical Connections
Dormant Symmetry
Broken Symmetry or Hidden Symmetry?
Toward a List of Cultural Invariants
Uniquely Human Plasticity?

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About the author (2009)

Stanislas Dehaene is the director of the Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit in Saclay, France, and the professor of experimental cognitive psychology at the Collège de France. He is the author of Reading in the Brain.

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