The Enhanced Literate Mind Hypothesis

Huettig, F., & Hulstijn, J. (2024). The Enhanced Literate Mind Hypothesis. Topics in Cognitive Science. Advance online publication. doi:10.1111/tops.12731.
In the present paper we describe the Enhanced Literate Mind (ELM) hypothesis. As individuals learn to read and write, they are, from then on, exposed to extensive written-language input and become literate. We propose that acquisition and proficient processing of written language (‘literacy’) leads to, both, increased language knowledge as well as enhanced language and non-language (perceptual and cognitive) skills. We also suggest that all neurotypical native language users, including illiterate, low literate, and high literate individuals, share a Basic Language Cognition (BLC) in the domain of oral informal language. Finally, we discuss the possibility that the acquisition of ELM leads to some degree of ‘knowledge parallelism’ between BLC and ELM in literate language users, which has implications for empirical research on individual and situational differences in spoken language processing.
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