Speed Reading

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Science  21 Jan 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5452, pp. 393
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5452.393f

Pronouncing English words is notoriously difficult because the same combination of letters (a grapheme) can be pronounced differently in different words and, sometimes, the same combination of graphemes can be pronounced differently in different contexts. Paulesu et al. show that the need to access lexical or semantic resources is correlated with slower reading times—as compared to pronouncing words in Italian, which offers an almost one-to-one mapping of graphemes onto sounds—and with distinct sets of brain regions activated during reading English versus Italian. These regions are consistent with proposals based on deficits in language skills observed in neurological patients and reveal the influence of culture on neural processing.—GJC

Nature Neurosci.3, 91 (2000)

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