Thursday, 7 March 2013

The phonological / visual debate continues.

The phonological / visual debate continues.

I have received many responses provoked by the recent posts. I broke off though to listen to a discussion on the BBC concerning the research towards ‘Absolute Zero.’
·        Minus 273 degrees Centigrade.
·        0 degrees Kelvin.

At the end of the nineteenth century this research was being hampered by the unwillingness of teams to collaborate. There was competition, with claims and counterclaims, outright hostility, mistrust of motive.

The only thing that really mattered was to push the research forward. What was learnt on the way is what has become useful to the Human Race.

In our endeavours to increase the literacy of our people, we endeavour to identify and reduce or remove the barriers to their reading performance.

What matters is that the transmission of ideas through text gets better for more people. That way the ideas do not get lost in ‘translation’, from eye to mind.

Most people with poor reading, poor access to text, will never get diagnosed as dyslexic, Dyspraxic or any other label.  They will just assume that what they experience is ‘Normal’ and get on with life. But it is likely that their lives and their contribution to society will be limited by their poor abilities with text.

For a long time our ancestors believed many, what we now consider to be strange ideas about   disease.  But they made sense to them at the time. Science was about questioning orthodoxies. accepted  'truths'.

It is hard to change the way people think especially since we are all sort of addicted to the ideas/explanations that have made sense to us up to now. Our own mental constructs of reality.

But there is excitement in looking closely at where our models do not work. It is our duty to test our ideas to destruction.

I again restate the contents of an earlier post.

Phonological processing or visual processing? Which is in control when you read?

This is a very important question. Possibly it is the most important as we move towards enabling more people to have more access to text.
It is obvious that reading is a ‘phonological output.’ Text is a ‘substitute for the spoken word, our thoughts are speech based.
A second question that needs considering is this.
What controls phonological processing?

I ask you this one question.
Does the font you are reading affect how easy it is to read?
Does the font you are reading affect how easy it is to read?
Does the font you are reading affect how easy it is to read?
Does the font you are reading affect how easy it is to read?
Does the font you are reading affect how easy it is to read?

If your answer is yes then you are saying that  
‘My phonological output is controlled by my visual processing.’
 If it does not then perhaps your phonological processing might not be being controlled by visual processing.  You would need to check more carefully.
If a colour or screen brightness makes it easier or harder to read then again visual processing is in charge.


Research in this area is controlled to a great extent by the way terms such as ‘Dyslexia’ are defined.

If it is defined as having an etymology based on a ‘phonological deficit’
Then that will skew the selection of people in experimental or control groups. 

There are many people/adults whose phonological processing appears to be influenced by the parameters controlling the visual appearance of the text they are reading.

I would love to see research into the way these parameters affect visual span and crowding.

But is that disquieting to some? If so why?

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