MadSci Network: Neuroscience

Re: Can brain scans tell if you are reading?

Date: Fri Dec 1 04:02:39 2000
Posted By: Homero Rey, Sr. Application Scientist
Area of science: Neuroscience
ID: 974526195.Ns

  You are right that a brain scan of a person's brain while reading would be 
extremely active.  To get a picture of the specific activity associated with 
reading, however, researchers have to "subtract" a picture of brain activity 
while the person is NOT reading since the brain is always active, regardless 
of the activity.  The areas you mention; visual cortex, language centers, 
etc. should show specific activity due to reading.  

  It is likely that you are forming new neural pathways or at least 
strengthening ones that already exist while reading, especially if you are 
reading with the intent of remembering the information you are reading.  
However, the brain's ability to learn is innate so reading in and of itself 
may not enhance the ability to learn per se but if you regularly take in 
information through reading, being an adept reader should help you absorb 
information more easily in this manner.

Hope that helps!
Homero L. Rey, Ph.D.

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