#Dyslexia #hide #unsuspected #developmental #advantage
If people with dyslexia have problems with reading and writing, a recent study found that this disorder could also promote discovery and encourage creativity.
Dyslexia is one of these disabling disorders from an early age and that usually remains so throughout life, especially in the absence of treatment by a specialist. This is usually a significant burden for those concerned, but a recent study has nuanced the clinical picture; the researchers explain that dyslexics benefit in exchange for an unsuspected evolutionary advantage.
As a reminder, dyslexia is a reading and writing disorder that occurs in patients who, however, do not suffer from any reasoning disorder. The underlying neurological mechanisms are still the subject of extensive debate, but it is nonetheless one of the disabilities recognized by France since 1990. And for good reason: it generally has a considerable impact on daily life, in particular at school and in the workplace. professional context.
For these reasons, one might intuitively think that dyslexia only has disadvantages. But a duo of young English researchers from the prestigious University of Cambridge wanted to qualify this strictly negative interpretation in a research paper entitled “ Developmental dyslexia: disorder or exploration specialization? discovered by Interesting Engineering.
” The deficit-focused view of dyslexia doesn’t tell the whole story says researcher Helen Taylor. ” This work offers a new framework to help us better understand the cognitive strengths of people with dyslexia. “.
A compromise between autopilot and the effort to think
The reasoning is relatively simple and is based on fundamental principles of development and neurology. To sum up, actively thinking is an extremely energy-intensive action. However, in terms of natural selection, consuming a lot of energy is a huge disadvantage. Furthermore, these processes that fall under the reflection They also have the advantage of being very fast.
Based on this information, natural selection should have purged all living things that have advanced cognitive abilities. But on the other hand, being able to reason actively is an even bigger advantage; It is largely due to this ability that humans have taken such a different path from the rest of the animal kingdom.
Over the millennia, evolution has pushed certain species toward a commitment with a very specific neurological specialization. Much of the routine actions, such as breathing, posture management or digestion, depend on completely autonomic neurological circuits.
That’s why you don’t have to actively think about getting your heart pumping to avoid passing out, for example. Conscious processes, which are much more energy intensive, are generally reserved for context-dependent casesand where this form of “autopilot” is not possible.
A brain specialized in exploration?
In non-dyslexic subjects, once learning is complete, the ability to interpret and produce texts depends more or less on these automatisms. The advantage is that it allows you to read and write in a relatively unconsciously, with little effort.
But when this automatism is absent, as in people with dyslexia, these actions require active effort, such as a private plane pilot your autopilot. Therefore, the nervous system is requested more regularly and more intensely… and this also means that it has more opportunities to explore new topics. With unexpected benefits.
” When an ability becomes automatic, we essentially take advantage of the same information every time. explains Helen Taylor. ” Conversely, if an individual has difficulty acquiring this automaticity, they remain actively aware of the process. The advantage is that the exploration can continue and other skills or processes can still be improved. “, specifies.
People with dyslexia would benefit from what researchers call a ” meta-adaptation “. For them, dyslexia is not just a ” neurocognitive disorder “but mostly a” specialization in exploratory cognitive research “.
A fascinating line of research.
In other words, these people would really have trouble exploiting the information at their disposal; but they would also be better at exploring new ways of learning and thinking. According to the researchers, this could represent an advantage in terms of “ discovery, invention and creativity “.
This study is still relatively exploratory, but it is still very interesting. she erases a obvious line of inquiry which could quickly be the subject of an experimental protocol to determine if dyslexics are really more efficient in these areas.
As is often the case in neuropsychology, it will be necessary be careful with the conclusions. DCriteria such as creativity are very difficult to objectively quantify. But it remains a fascinating topic of research, not least because Comparable mechanisms could arise in the case of other neurological disorders.
The text of the study is available here.