19 avril 2015

Notre cerveau voit les mots comme des images

Extrait de ce fascinant article:

Given the fact that writing is a relatively recent invention, scientists are keen to understand how we read and recognize words as our brains cannot have evolved a dedicated mechanism for reading. Clues about these abilities started to be unraveled a few years back when scientists discovered a part of the brain that was activated upon reading, but interestingly, its response seemed to be strictly visual. This led scientists to believe that we identify words from images before associating them with sounds and meanings.

Although this idea was contested, scientists have now gathered evidence that lends support to this hypothesis. According to a new study, our brain sees words we know like a picture, recognizing whole words, rather than strings of letters that require processing. By tuning neurons to respond to complete words that have been seen before, our brain allows us to read quickly.

“We are not recognizing words by quickly spelling them out or identifying parts of words, as some researchers have suggested,” senior author Maximilian Reisenhuber explains in a statement. “Instead, neurons in a small brain area remember how the whole word looks—using what could be called a visual dictionary.”

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