Key Brain Region “Recycled” as Humans Developed the Ability for Reading

Key Brain Region “Recycled” as Humans Developed the Ability for Reading

Key Brain Region “Recycled” as Humans Developed the Ability for Reading
Photo: Medical Express

A new study shows that human repurposed or “recycled” parts of its brain for reading.

According to the UPI report, humans began reading only a few thousand years ago, a relatively recent phenomenon.

However, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found out that even the brains of nonhuman primates are predisposed for distinguishing words from non-words.

In a study published in Nature Communications last August 4, humans recycled the inferior temporal cortex or IT cortex. It is for the purpose of orthographic processing or reading.

James DiCarlo, senior author of the study, said the study provides further understanding regarding the link between neural mechanisms of visual processing and human reading.

Previous studies show baboons can distinguish between real words and nonsensical strings of letters. However, the neural architecture underpinning this ability has remained a mystery.

In this study, the MIT researchers made untrained macaque monkeys view images of letters, some words and some random strings of letters. While doing this, they recorded their neural activity in the inferior temporal cortex and visual cortex.

Key Brain Region “Recycled” as Humans Developed the Ability for Reading
Photo: UPI

According to the report, the experimental results suggest parts of the primate brain that evolved for object identification and reading.

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