Extract from Glezer’s research, Georgetown University Medical Centre

“Skilled readers rely on their brain’s ‘visual dictionary’ to recognise words”

“What we found is that once we have learnt a word, it is placed in a purely visual dictionary in the brain. This allows for the fast and efficient word recognition we see in skilled readers”

“When we see a word for the first time it requires some time to read and sound it out, but after perhaps just one presentation of the word, you can recognise it without sounding it out.  This occurs because our brain first uses phonology to encode the word. Once we do that and encounter the word a few more times, we no longer need the phonology, just the visual input to identify the word.”

Through MRI scans they could see that words that are different but sound the same, like “hare” and “hair” activate different neurons. “If the sounds of the word had influence we would expect  to see that they activate the same or similar neurons, but this was not the case, “hair” and “hare”  looked just as different as “hair” and “soup”

Glezer research abstract

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