17 mai 2018: Prof. Stanislas Dehaene

Jeudi 17 mai 2018
12h30, CMU - Auditoire Alex-F. Müller (A250)
Stanislas DEHAENE
Professor at Collège de France, Paris
Director of the NeuroSpin Brain Imaging Center, Saclay, France

Photo Dehaene_1.png

«Reading in the brain: new images of how education transforms us»

The remarkable plasticity of the human brain allows it to acquire new abilities through schooling and education. Reading acquisition recycles several pre-existing visual and auditory areas in order to reorient them to the processing of letters and phonemes. Comparisons of literate and illiterate brains have revealed three major sites of enhancement due to schooling: the early visual cortex, the « visual word form area » (a region specializing for the visual recognition of letter strings) and the planum temporale (a region involved in phonological processing). I will present a novel longitudinal study in which we repeatedly scanned individual children every two months during the first year of school. The results paint a detailed picture of how the ventral visual cortex and associated language areas are changed, and how reading acquisition competes with the cortical representation of faces. I will also show how mathematical affects brain activity, particularly by enhancing the responsivity to numbers and mathematical expressions in ventral visual cortex. I will conclude by discussing how our growing understanding of the neuroscience of reading and mathematics has important consequences for education.

Professor Stanislas Dehaene holds the Chair of Experimental Cognitive Psychology at the Collége de France in Paris. He directs the NeuroSpin center in Saclay, south of Paris - France's advanced neuroimaging research center.

His research investigates the neural bases of human cognitive functions such as reading, calculation and language, with a particular interest for the differences between conscious and non-conscious processing, and for the impact of education on the brain. His main research findings include the discovery of automatic links between numbers and space, and of the role of the intraparietal sulcus in number sense; the operation of the ''visual word form area'', a left occipito-temporal region which acquires the visual component of reading; and the identification of physiological responses unique to conscious processing, supporting the theory of a ''global neuronal workspace'' for consciousness.

The awards that Prof. Dehaene has accumulated during his career are numerous; among the latest are APA Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award (2015), Thomas Reuters Highly Cited Researcher (2014), and The Grete Lundbeck Brain Prize (with G. Rizzolatti and T. Robbins) (€ 1 million) (2014).
Prof. Dehaene is a member of six academies, including the British Academy, the American Philosophical Society, the French Académie des Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences USA. On April 2016 he received his second ERC advanced grant.
Prof. Dehaene is the author of several books for the general public, including The Number Sense, Reading in the Brain, and Consciousness and the Brain, which were translated into more than fifteen languages. He has also created three television documentaries, and authored more than 300 scientific publications in journals such as Science, Nature, Nature Neuroscience, and PNAS. 40 of his articles were cited more than 500 times.

May 17, 2018
  Frontiers in biomedicine