Zoubrinetzky_ColletEtal2016 Régine Kolinsky ULB 2018 04  
Morais2018LiteracyDemocracy Régine Kolinsky ULB 2018 04  
MoraisIn press Régine Kolinsky ULB 2018 04  
CompletelyIlliterateAdultsCanLearnToDecode Régine Kolinsky ULB 2018 04  
HuettigKolinskyLachmann2018 Régine Kolinsky ULB 2018 04  
GabrielKolinskyMorais2016 Régine Kolinsky ULB 2018 04  
BlindReadersBreakMirrorInvarianceAsSightedDo Régine Kolinsky ULB 2018 04  
Effetsdel’Acquisitiondel’Ecrit sur le Traitement du Langage, la Mémorisation et la Connaissance Verbale Régine Kolinsky ULB 2016 05

Kolinsky, R., Demoulin, C., & Morais, J. (in press). Les effets de l’acquisition de l’écrit sur le traitement du langage, la mémorisation et la connaissance verbale. Ed. SOLAL – DE BOECK.

A aprendizagem da leitura_Learning to read and its implications on memory and cognition Régine Kolinsky ULB 2016 05

Gabriel, R., Morais, J., & Kolinsky, R. (2016). A aprendizagem da leitura e suas implicações sobre a memória e a cognição. [Reading acquisition and its implications on memory and cognition]. Ilha do Desterro, 69(1), 61-78. DOI: Can learning to read change the information process and expand the storage capacity of the human brain? The purpose of this article is to review and to discuss models of memory (working memory, short term and long term memory) in their relation to language, as well as the possible cognitive changes prompted by literacy. By reviewing models of memory and executive functions, we aim at identifying questions that have promoted theoretical evolution, as well as the matching and disagreement in the concepts available in the area. Differences in knowledge processing and storage in literates and illiterates are highlighted, taking into account behavioral and brain imaging data. The data suggest that literacy alters the way in which linguistic knowledge is stored and processed by bursting the refinement of the visual and auditory perceptual systems, necessary to the grapheme-phoneme association.

The Impact of Learning to Read on Visual Processing Régine Kolinsky ULB 2016 05

Fernandes, T. & Kolinsky, R (Eds.) Special issue of Frontiers in Developmental Psychology, “The impact of learning to read on visual processing” . Also published as Frontiers ebook: Fernandes, T. & Kolinsky, R. (2016), Eds. “The impact of learning to read on visual processing”. Lausanne: Frontiers Media. doi: 10.3389/978-2-88919-716-3.

Reading is at the interface between the vision and spoken language domains. An emergent bulk of research indicates that learning to read strongly impacts on non-linguistic visual object processing, both at the behavioral level (e.g., on mirror image processing – enantiomorphy–) and at the brain level (e.g., inducing top-down effects as well as neural competition effects). Yet, many questions regarding the exact nature, locus, and consequences of these effects remain hitherto unanswered.
The current Special Topic aims at contributing to the understanding of how such a cultural activity as reading might modulate visual processing by providing a landmark forum in which researchers define the state of the art and future directions on this issue.

Into the looking glass: Literacy acquisition and mirror invariance in preschool and first-grade children. Régine Kolinsky ULB 2015 09

Fernandes, T., Leite, I., & Kolinsky, R. (2016, in press). Into the looking glass: Literacy acquisition and mirror invariance in preschool and first-grade children. Child Development. At what point in reading development does literacy impact object recognition and orientation processing? Is it specific to mirror images? To answer these questions, forty-six 5-7-year-old preschoolers and first graders performed two same-different tasks differing in the matching criterion - orientation-based vs. shape-based (orientation-independent) - on geometric shapes and letters. On orientation-based judgments, first graders outperformed preschoolers who had the strongest difficulty with mirrored pairs. On shape-based judgments, first graders were slower for mirrored than identical pairs, and even slower than preschoolers. This mirror cost emerged with letter knowledge. Only first graders presented worse shape-based judgments for mirrored and rotated pairs of reversible (e.g., b-d; b-q) than non-reversible (e.g., e-ә) letters, indicating readers’ difficulty in ignoring orientation-contrasts relevant to letters.

Does learning to read shape verbal working memory? Régine Kolinsky ULB 2015 09

Demoulin, C., & Kolinsky, R. (2016, in press). Does learning to read shape verbal working memory? Psychonomic Bulletin & Review . DOI 10.3758/s13423-015-0956-7. Many experimental studies have investigated the relationship between the acquisition of reading and working memory in a unidirectional way, attempting to determine to what extent individual differences in working memory can predict reading achievement. In contrast, very little attention has been dedicated to the converse possibility that learning to read shapes the development of verbal memory processes. In this paper, we present available evidence that advocates a more prominent role for reading acquisition on verbal working memory and then discuss the potential mechanisms of such literacy effects. First, the early decoding activities might bolster the development of subvocal rehearsal, which, in turn, would enhance serial order performance in immediate memory tasks. In addition, learning to read and write in an alphabetical system allows the emergence of phonemic awareness and finely tuned phonological representations, as well as of orthographic representations. This could improve the quality, strength, and precision of lexical representations, and hence offer better support for the temporary encoding of memory items and/or for their retrieval.

Timing the impact of literacy on visual processing Régine Kolinsky ULB 2015 03

105. Pegado, F., Comerlato, E., Ventura, F., Jobert, A., Nakamura, K., Buiatti, M., Ventura, P., Dehaene-Lambertz, G., Kolinsky, R., Morais, J., Braga, L. W., Cohen, L., & Dehaene, S. (2014). Timing the impact of literacy on visual processing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(49), E5233–E5242. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1417347111.

Learning to read requires the acquisition of an efficient visual procedure for quickly recognizing fine print. Thus, reading practice could induce a perceptual learning effect in early vision. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in literate and illiterate adults, we previously demonstrated an impact of reading acquisition on both high- and low-level occipitotemporal visual areas, but could not resolve the time course of these effects. To clarify whether literacy affects early vs. late stages of visual processing, we measured event-related potentials to various categories of visual stimuli in healthy adults with variable levels of literacy, including completely illiterate subjects, early-schooled literate subjects, and subjects who learned to read in adulthood (ex-illiterates). The stimuli included written letter strings forming pseudowords, on which literacy is expected to have a major impact, as well as faces, houses, tools, checkerboards, and false fonts. To evaluate the precision with which these stimuli were encoded, we studied repetition effects by presenting the stimuli in pairs composed of repeated, mirrored, or unrelated pictures from the same category. The results indicate that reading ability is correlated with a broad enhancement of early visual processing, including increased repetition suppression, suggesting better exemplar discrimination, and increased mirror discrimination, as early as ∼100–150 ms in the left occipitotemporal region. These effects were found with letter strings and false fonts, but also were partially generalized to other visual categories. Thus, learning to read affects the magnitude, precision, and invariance of early visual processing.


Dehaene, S., Cohen, L., Morais, J., & Kolinsky, R. (2015). Illiterate to literate: Behavioural and cerebral changes induced by reading acquisition. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 16, 234-244. The acquisition of literacy transforms the human brain. By reviewing studies of illiterate subjects, we propose specific hypotheses on how the functions of core brain systems are partially reoriented or ‘recycled’ when learning to read. Literacy acquisition improves early visual processing and reorganizes the ventral occipito-temporal pathway: responses to written characters are increased in the left occipito-temporal sulcus, whereas responses to faces shift towards the right hemisphere. Literacy also modifies phonological coding and strengthens the functional and anatomical link between phonemic and graphemic representations. Literacy acquisition therefore provides a remarkable example of how the brain reorganizes to accommodate a novel cultural skill.

How learning to read influences language and cognition Régine Kolinsky ULB 2014 10

Kolinsky, R. (2015). How learning to read influences language and cognition. In A. Pollatsek & R. Treiman (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Reading. New York: Oxford University Press (pp. 377-393). doi: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199324576.013.29.

As illustrated in this handbook, a substantial body of work now exists that examines which factors
and functions affect reading acquisition and reading pro ciency, and which brain areas are involved. The converse relationship—namely, which functions and brain areas are affected by literacy—has received
far less attention, probably because reading acquisition lags speech and vision by several years and because the crucial comparison of illiterate adults with people who learned to read as adults is difficult to undertake. However, this chapter illustrates that learning to read has profound influences on the processing of spoken language and beyond the domain of language, in particular on visual nonlinguistic perception. The chapter discusses research with literate adults in these areas, including the influence of spelling knowledge on speech perception. It also covers research with illiterate adults and on people who first learned to read as adults.


Mechanisms of conscious and unconscious learning