[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ability to recognize 2 mirror images as the same picture across left-right inversions exists early on in humans and other primates. In order to learn to read, however, one must discriminate the left-right orientation of letters and distinguish, for instance, b from d. We therefore reasoned that literacy may entail a loss of mirror invariance. To evaluate this hypothesis, we asked adult literates, illiterates, and ex-illiterates to perform a speeded same-different task with letter strings, false fonts, and pictures regardless of their orientation (i.e., they had to respond "same" to mirror pairs such as "iblo oldi"). Literates presented clear difficulties with mirror invariance. This "mirror cost" effect was strongest with letter strings, but crucially, it was also observed with false fonts and even with pictures. In contrast, illiterates did not present any cost for mirror pairs. Interestingly, subjects who learned to read as adults also exhibited a mirror cost, suggesting that modest reading practice, late in life, can suffice to break mirror invariance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
Journal of Experimental Psychology General 06/2013; · 3.99 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Does literacy improve brain function? Does it also entail losses? Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we measured brain responses to spoken and written language, visual faces, houses, tools, and checkers in adults of variable literacy (10 were illiterate, 22 became literate as adults, and 31 were literate in childhood). As literacy enhanced the left fusiform activation evoked by writing, it induced a small competition with faces at this location, but also broadly enhanced visual responses in fusiform and occipital cortex, extending to area V1. Literacy also enhanced phonological activation to speech in the planum temporale and afforded a top-down activation of orthography from spoken inputs. Most changes occurred even when literacy was acquired in adulthood, emphasizing that both childhood and adult education can profoundly refine cortical organization.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can produce temporary or permanent impairment. Quality-of-life (QoL) after TBI has been well studied in adults, but less so in children. The aim of this study was to assess the QoL of children with TBI and compare the findings with the evaluations of parents and children without brain injury.
Participants were 23 children with TBI, mean age 11 years, who had been treated at the SARAH Network of Rehabilitation Hospitals. Participants were matched by age, sex, parents' socio-cultural level and place of residence with 23 other children who had no history of brain injury. The instruments used were the SARAH QoL Questionnaire for Children and Adolescents, Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, the SARAH Physical-Functional Classification of the Child and Adolescent and a structured interview with parents.
The results demonstrated that, in an average 4 years after the accident, all of the children with TBI were attending school and most could walk independently. The parents' reports about post-TBI problems were marginally associated with the children's self-evaluations. The parents showed important concerns regarding their child across all dimensions of life.
Children with TBI report significantly reduced QoL compared to a control group in the physical, psychological, cognitive and total score dimensions. However, TBI children with average academic performance (65%) obtained the same QoL scores as the control group.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bilateral hand skill assessment with a computerised version of the Peg Moving Task, and neuropsychological testing, were performed in 30 children aged 7 to 8 years with spastic cerebral palsy (CP) and without mental retardation, diplegia (n = 10), right hemiplegia (n = 10), or left hemiplegia (n = 10), and in 30 controls. Compared to controls: (i) 30% of the hemiplegic children showed impairment of the unaffected hand and 70% of the diplegic children showed impairment in both hands; (ii) children with CP were impaired only in oral repetition and in visual-motor tasks. Results of neuropsychological testing were not significantly different between the three groups of children with CP. Right minus left asymmetry in hand skill was not related to neuropsychological testing; however, degree of impairment of the right hand was associated with phonological and metaphonological skills, and of the left hand with visuospatial and counting performance. Hand skill was related to the ability to perform many daily living manual activities. It is concluded that impairment of hand function, rather than the side of the more affected hand, is related to neuropsychological deficits in children with cerebral palsy.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Phonological and metaphonological skills are explored in 97 Brazilian illiterate and semiliterate adults. A simple letter- and word-reading task was used to define the degree of illiteracy. Phonemic awareness was strongly dependent on the level of letter and word reading ability. Phonological memory was very low in illiterates and unrelated to letter knowledge. Rhyme identification was relatively preserved in illiterates and semiliterates, and unrelated to letter and word reading level. Phonetic discrimination (minimal pairs) was fairly good and marginally related to reading ability. These results suggest that phonological sensitivity, phonological memory, rhyme identification, and phonemic awareness are distinctive cognitive processes, and that only phonemic awareness is clearly and strongly dependent on the alphabetical acquisition.
Brain and Language 07/2004; 89(3):499-502. · 3.39 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The effect of the degree of illiteracy (complete or incomplete) on phonological skills, verbal and visual memory and visuospatial skills is examined in 97 normal Brazilian adults who considered themselves illiterate, and 41 Brazilian school children aged 7 to 8 years, either nonreaders or beginning readers. Similar literacy effects were observed in children and in adults. Tasks involving phonological awareness and visual recognition memory of nonsense figures distinguish the best nonreaders and beginning readers. Children performed better than adults at oral repetition of short items and figure recall, and adults better than children at semantic verbal fluency, digit span, and word list recall. A principal component analysis of the correlations between tasks showed that phonological awareness/reading, phonological memory/oral repetition, and semantic verbal memory/fluency tasks, generated different components. The respective role of culturally based preschool activities and literacy on the cognitive functions that are explored in this study is discussed.
Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society 08/2003; 9(5):771-82. · 2.70 Impact Factor