Researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) published a study which shows that the brain learns new words faster by recognizing them as complete words rather than in parts, and remembered them as pictures for future reference. Previous studies suggested that words were identified by the brain by their spelling or by their parts. However, after conducting a study on 25 adult participants, the GUMC researchers found that the brain creates an image of a learned word, thus creating a ‘visual dictionary.’ They asked the participants to learn a set of 150 gibberish words. The brain flexibility associated with learning was studied using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), both before and after training. It was found that the visual word form area changed as the participants learned the nonsense words. Before learning, the neurons responded like the training words were nonsense words, but after memorization, the neurons responded to the learned words like they were real words. This study reveals the way brain processes words, which might prove useful in studying how people with learning disabilities can be helped.
Read more in Science Daily.