Brain’s Reading Center Doesn’t Need to See, Study Finds

March 20, 2011 Updated: October 1, 2015

 (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
(Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
The section of the brain thought to be responsible for visual reading doesn’t need to “see” at all, according to a recent study published in the journal Current Biology.

The visual word form area (VWFA), a portion of the brain activated while reading, was shown to be activated regardless of whether words were read by sighted readers, or felt by people who had been blind since birth reading Braille. This “astonishing anatomical consistency,” according to the study, adds further evidence to the theory that the brain is a processing and computational, rather than sensory, organ.

“The brain is not a sensory machine, although it often looks like one; it is a task machine,” lead researcher Dr. Amir Amedi of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem said in a press release.


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