Activities and Seminars

Mairead McSweeney, University College London, UK
Date: Oct 20, 2011

What: The deaf brain: A unique perspective on literacy

When: Thursday, October 20th, 12:00am

Who: Mairead McSweeney, University College London, UK

Where: BCBL, Paseo Mikeletegi 69, Floor 2.


When we read, we access spoken language written on the page. Therefore it not surprising that impoverished access to spoken language, such as in the case of congenital profound deafness, can lead to difficulties in learning to read. In this talk I will present behavioural, fMRI and ERP studies in which I have explored reading and reading-related skills in deaf adults. Phonological awareness is examined in particular, since this is strongly related to reading ability in the hearing. The nature of phonological processing is further explored in a study of phonological awareness of British Sign Language signs. The neural systems recruited for both sign and speech phonological awareness tasks were very similar. Whether this provides evidence for the ‘amodal’ nature of phonological processing and implications for reading tuition will be discussed.