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Words don’t come easy. Edition No. 1
VDM Publishing House, January 2010, Pages: 76
The book comprises a brief theoretical review and presents four empirical studies relating to the question of whether brain areas can be specialized for reading. This question has been studied within the broader context of cognitive neuroscience, both in patients with acquired disorders of reading (alexia), and with the use of functional imaging techniques. An important account postulates that an area in the mid-fusiform gyrus - the so-called visual word form area - is specialized for reading (in literate adults). Extant evidence for and against such specialization is briefly reviewed and found inconclusive. The reported empirical studies of patients with pure alexia, as well as a functional imaging study of word and picture recognition, challenges the notion of selectivity for word or letter processing in the visual domain. However, the findings do suggest that reading may be disproportionately affected by damage to more general purpose visual recognition processes.
Randi Starrfelt holds a PhD in neuropsychology. She is currently working as a researcher at the Center for Visual Cognition at the University of Copenhagen. Her research has focused on deficits in reading and visual perception following acquired brain injury.