Guinevere Eden, Ph.D.
Decoding the Reading Brain: Evidence from Brain Imaging Studies
Reading is a cultural invention. It has to be learned through explicit instructions,
resulting in the recruitment and utilization of a variety of brain areas that were not
designed to read specifically. This presentation will show how brain imaging is used to
reveal brain areas that are involved in word processing in typical and struggling readers.
The integration of functional brain imaging data with psycho-educational tests is important
in determining brain-behavioral relationships. Brain imaging has been used to test some of
the opposing theoretical frameworks that have been put forward to explain dyslexia. For
example, what is the role of the visual system deficit in dyslexia? Understanding the
origin of the difficulty in reading is critical for deveolping the best avenues of
intervention. This presentation will also highlight the importance of distinguishing
between cause and consequence when it comes to interpreting the manifestation of children
who are struggling readers. I will discuss the neural correlates of successful reading
intervention and how brain activity can be used to predict which individuals are most
likely to make the biggest, tutoring-induced gains. Finally, this research will also be
examined in the broader context of the neural basis for learning and the role of sensory
and language experience on the brain. Together, this knowledge can be harnessed to bring
about positive change for students with learning difficulties.