Dyslexia

22 Aug

Matthew Schneps at Scientific American asks if there are cognitive advantages to dyslexia. It appears that people with dyslexia are better at picking out impossible figures than people who do not have the diagnosis.

An impossible figure is a drawing “suggesting a three-dimensional object that could never exist in our experience.” M. C. Escher is the paradigmatic example of impossible figures.

escher_ascending_cropped_1

According to Schneps:

“In one study, we tested professional astrophysicists with and without dyslexia for their abilities to spot the simulated graphical signature in a spectrum characteristic of a black hole. The scientists with dyslexia —perhaps sensitive to the weeds among the flowers— were better at picking out the black holes from the noise, an advantage useful in their careers. Another study in our laboratory compared the abilities of college students with and without dyslexia for memorizing blurry-looking images resembling x-rays. Again, those with dyslexia showed an advantage, an advantage in that can be useful in science or medicine.”

More evidence that we should embrace the concept of neurodiversity.

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