First International School On Mind, Brain And Education

2005 July 16-20

Summer Institute on
Mind, Brain and Education

Directors: Antonio M. Battro and Kurt W. Fischer
Program officer: MarĂ­a Lourdes Majdalani

Abstract: Mairead MacSweeney
Behavioral and Brain Sciences Unit, Institute of Child Health, University College London. UNITED KINGDOM

Language processing in the deaf brain
I will present research in which I have explored the neural systems supporting language processing in those born profoundly deaf. This will include studies of British Sign Language (BSL) and the processing of spoken English, in the form of speechreading (lipreading). I will relate these findings to my more recent studies in which I have examined the neural networks supporting reading and reading-related processes in people born deaf. Despite normal non-verbal IQ, the average deaf child leaves school with a reading age of nine-years. A greater understanding of the language and neural mechanisms that support reading in this group should have important educational implications. In addition, exploring language processing in individuals with altered sensory and language experience can offer direct insights into the cognitive and neurobiological conditions under which language develops.