Columbia University in the City of New York

Dec 4, 20174:15 pm

Educating the Brain: How the Acquisition of Reading and Mathematics Affects Human Brain Circuits

December 4th, 4:15 pm – 6:15 pm at The Italian Academy at Columbia University

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The remarkable plasticity of the human brain allows it to acquire new abilities through schooling and education. Reading acquisition recycles several pre-existing visual and auditory areas in order to reorient them to the processing of letters and phonemes. Comparisons of literate and illiterate brains have revealed three major sites of enhancement due to schooling: the early visual cortex, the « visual word form area » (a region specializing for the visual recognition of letter strings) and the planum temporale (a region involved in phonological processing). I will present a novel longitudinal study in which we repeatedly scanned individual children every two months during the first year of school. The results paint a detailed picture of how the ventral visual cortex and associated language areas are changed, and how reading acquisition competes with the cortical representation of faces. I will also show how mathematics affects brain activity, particularly by enhancing the responsivity to numbers and mathematical expressions in ventral visual cortex. I will conclude by discussing how our growing understanding of the neuroscience of reading and mathematics has important consequences for education.

Exactly location TBA. Free and open to the public, but RSVP is required. This event is part of the Seminars in Society and Neuroscience series.

Stanislas Dehaene, Professor and Chair of Experimental Cognitive Psychology, Collège de France

Thomas A. DiPrete, Giddings Professor of Sociology, Columbia University
Kimberly Noble, Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
Daphna Shohamy, Associate Professor of Psychology, Columbia University

Aniruddha Das, Associate Professor of Neuroscience, Columbia University

Venue: The Italian Academy at Columbia University
1161 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10027 United States

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