Kids see words and faces differently from adults, study found

A new study finds that young children’s brains have not yet fully developed the vision circuits they need to understand words and recognize faces, a finding that could help in understanding how children learn to read.


Children’s window onto the world is not the same as adults. They literally see words and faces differently from adults. Analysing that window could enable analysts to better see how kids figure out how to peruse and perceive faces – and maybe better comprehend dyslexia and autism too.

Stanford scientists analyzed those differences and found that the changes are actually accompanied by previously undetected changes in the brain circuits responsible for processing words and faces.

Naturally, in the event that you need to get a decent take a gander at something – a word, a face, or essentially whatever else – you should take a gander at it, and without a doubt that is fundamentally what grown-ups do. All things considered, our eyes’ determination is most astounding in the focal point of vision, called the fovea, so we get the clearest pictures by taking a gander at something or somebody straight on.

However, even in grown-ups, that portrayal is somewhat of rearrangements, since vision isn’t just about determination. With regards to perceiving words and faces, it’s additionally about how we process and pool the data from our eyes and from what parts of the visual field – the whole scope of things we can see, not only the middle. In the interim, scientists know just a little about visual preparing in youngsters and how that handling changes as children grow up.

Scientists volunteered 26 children between the ages of 5 and 12 and 26 young adults between age 22 and 28 into the lab. Each participant had to laid down in a fMRI brain scanner and watched a sweeping bar glide across different places on a screen without moving their eyes. By correlating where the bar was with the regions that lit up on a fMRI image, the team mapped how the visual world is represented on the brain.

Researchers carried out a different scan to identify which regions of the brain process faces, words and other objects. By joining the two scans, the information uncovered which parts of the visual field face and word locales were most touchy to – for instance, wherein the visual field the cerebrum was hoping to discover words.

In adults, the visual circuits for the two words and faces searched for those things straight ahead – similarly as the researchers anticipated.

In any case, the circumstance is distinctive in youngsters. For a certain something, youngsters’ circuits for words process an alternate locale of the visual field, one that is moved down and to one side, contrasted with adults. That implies that keeping in mind the end goal to process words most proficiently, children would need to turn somewhat upward and to one side.

There are additionally some captivating contrasts between vision circuits on the left and right sides of the cerebrum. In kids, the two sides react decently comparatively to words and faces. Yet, by youthful adulthood, the left side is more receptive to words, while the privilege is more receptive to faces, particularly when those things are in the focal point of vision.

Jesse Gomez, a graduate student in the Stanford Neurosciences Ph.D. the program said, “That suggests a kind of competition exists for the prime real estate in the brain region that processes the center of the visual field. If they both use central vision, you might think they’d be fighting. The solution seems to be this: face circuits get a larger expanse in the right hemisphere, while word circuits get their pick in the left hemisphere.”

“There could be a more optimal strategy if we catered to the differences children have from adults or “it could be that this is the natural course of development,” in which case adjusting how we teach kids to read, for example, could be counterproductive.

The study is reported in the journal Nature Communications.


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