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Modularity of mind and phonological deficit

Frith, U; Frith, C; (1998) Modularity of mind and phonological deficit. In: VonEuler, C and Lundberg, I and Llinas, R, (eds.) BASIC MECHANISMS IN COGNITION AND LANGUAGE. (pp. 3 - 17). ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV

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Specific cognitive deficits in developmental disorders support the notion of modularity of mind and indicate Limits to the plasticity of brain function. A phonological processing difficulty is widely believed to underlie dyslexia. This difficulty is remarkably circumscribed and coexists with superior abilities in other aspects of language function. The specificity of the impairment can be explained most readily by the assumption of damage to an innately specified mechanism which enables the fine-grained processing of speech. A modular deficit would be expected to emerge early, to persist throughout life, and to be seen universally, regardless of language and orthography. Evidence for the early emergence of phonological processing problems has been found in prospective longitudinal studies of children at genetic risk for dyslexia; evidence for persistence of phonological problems has been found in studies of able adult dyslexics who have compensated for their reading problems; evidence for the universality of the phonological deficit has been demonstrated in cross-language comparisons. The results from neuropsychological, developmental and brain imaging studies confirm the modular nature of phonological processing. This mechanism is vulnerable, as shown in the case of dyslexia, but also robust, as shown in the ease of Down syndrome and autism.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: Modularity of mind and phonological deficit
Event: Wenner-Gren Conference on Basic Mechanisms in Cognition and Language
Dates: 1997-02
ISBN: 0-08-042747-2
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/114297
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