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How literacy acquisition affects the illiterate mind - A critical examination of theories and evidence

Huettig, F., & Mishra, R. K. (2014). How literacy acquisition affects the illiterate mind - A critical examination of theories and evidence. Language and Linguistics Compass, 8(10), 401-427. doi:10.1111/lnc3.12092.
At present, more than one-fifth of humanity is unable to read and write. We critically examine experimental evidence and theories of how (il)literacy affects the human mind. In our discussion we show that literacy has significant cognitive consequences that go beyond the processing of written words and sentences. Thus, cultural inventions such as reading shape general cognitive processing in non-trivial ways. We suggest that this has important implications for educational policy and guidance as well as research into cognitive processing and brain functioning.
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The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

The institute is situated on the campus of the Radboud University. We participate in the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and have particularly close ties to that institute's Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. We also participate in the Centre for Language Studies. A joint graduate school, the IMPRS in Language Sciences, links the Donders Institute, the CLS and the MPI.

 

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