Coolest Science Story of 2020 Winner Zeynep Saygin and her Team

January 29, 2021

Coolest Science Story of 2020 Winner Zeynep Saygin and her Team

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Human brains pre-wired for words is coolest science story of 2020

The polls have closed, the ballots have been counted, and when it comes to the coolest Ohio State science story of the year, we’re thrilled to report that the word nerds win.

The award for coolest science story of 2020 goes to researchers who discovered that the human brain is “pre-wired” to see words and letters, a finding that suggests the brain is fertile ground for humans to learn to read and write – even before they are exposed to language.

The winning research team was led by Zeynep Saygin, an assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State. The team analyzed brain scans of newborns, all less than a week old, and found that a part of the human brain called the “visual word form area” is already connected to the language network of the brain.

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