The Mind Hacks blog reports on a study showing that literacy has a measurable physical effect on the structure of the brain. From the post:
The researchers, led by neuroscientist Manuel Carreiras, recruited a group of ex-paramilitaries who could read less than five simple words on a Spanish reading and writing test, and compared them to a similar group who learnt to read and write from an early age.
The research team use MRI scans to compare differences in brain structure between the two groups to allow an insight into how brain anatomy changes to accommodate reading and writing.
While it is possible to do this with children, it is almost impossible to separate out which are the brain changes due specifically to acquiring literacy and which are just part of the massive changes that constantly take place as children develop.
Posted by Chris Routledge