Babies Are Born Ready to Read | The Institute for Creation Research
Babies Are Born Ready to Read
Dogs don’t read the words on a page. Neither did Coco, the famous gorilla that learned to communicate using simple hand signs. So what affords humans the unique ability to read and write, and why do we do it? These kinds of questions drive Zeynep Saygin’s research at Ohio State. Her team’s recent discovery sets the stage for some answers.

Brain experts already knew about the visual cortex—an area of the brain where neurons fire as we interpret faces, shapes, and words. But Saygin’s group seeks to understand what happens in our brains as we learn to read.

The team compared functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data sets from 40 newborns to similar scans of 40 adults. fMRI shows neuron activity within the brain, so the comparison would indicate if baby brains come into the world already equipped with the wiring necessary to perceive and process letters later in life.

Literate adults have close connections between the part of the brain that processes the sight of letters, called the visual word form area (VWFA), and the brain’s nearby language network. The researchers discovered that newborn brains come prewired with similarly tight connections between the two areas.

They published their discovery in Scientific Reports.1

Saygin, the senior author of the study, told Ohio State News, “Even at birth, the VWFA is more connected functionally to the language network of the brain than it is to other areas. It is an incredibly exciting finding.”2

Lead author Jin Li said, “It’s interesting to think about how and why our brains develop functional modules that are sensitive to specific things like faces, objects, and words.”2

Why indeed?

From a Darwinian perspective, our brains’ functional modules would have incrementally developed over eons for our survival. But in what scenario would our ancestors have been forced to read or die? For that matter, how could such pressures reach into and rewire our brains?

On the other hand, if humans came from supernatural creation instead of mere nature, then the possibility opens for God to have intentionally prewired our brains “to see words.”2 And why would a Creator do that?

Reading is the key to understanding the most important information for time and eternity found in the Bible. Scripture says we were created for God, that our sins have driven a wedge between us and God, but that God sent His Son to take our sins upon Himself in order to restore our relationship with Him.

So, it makes sense that a God who has invested so much into us would also have endowed us with the prewiring needed to see letters. That way each can learn to read, take up the Bible, and discover the way back to Him.

References
1. Li, J. et al. 2020. Innate connectivity patterns drive the development of the visual word form area. Scientific Reports. 10: 18039.
2. Grabmeier, J. Humans are born with brains ‘prewired’ to see words. Ohio State News. Posted on news.osu.edu October 22, 2020.

*Dr. Brian Thomas is Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his Ph.D. in paleobiochemistry from the University of Liverpool.
The Latest
NEWS
The Incredible Canine Sniffer
As any dog owner will tell you, the smelling ability of Rover is incredible.1 Surprisingly, however, “little is known about the structure...

NEWS
Claims of 'Freshwater' Plesiosaurs Drowned by the Flood
A new discovery in Morocco’s Saharan Desert has evolutionary scientists making claims that plesiosaurs lived in freshwater too.1 Usually...

NEWS
Brainy Paper Wasps
Wasps (Family Vespidae) have a bad rap, but their benefits actually outweigh their painful sting—although many would disagree! What is the function...

CREATION PODCAST
The Secrets of the Cell | The Creation Podcast: Episode 29
Cells are the basic units of life, and in some forms they are actually organisms. What is a cell? What goes on inside of a cell? Did all life come from...

NEWS
Fossil Footprints Fit Flood Ice-Age Model
Anthropologists Thomas Urban (Cornell University) and Daron Duke (Far Western Anthropological Research Group) recently found preserved human footprints...

NEWS
Deep-Sea Lobster Microbiome
Research continues regarding complex and amazing microbiomes found on or within a variety of creatures.1 The microbiome is a microbial community...

NEWS
"Massively Exciting" Fossil Find
Now this is exciting: “Geologists have found the fossil of the earliest known animal predator. The 560-million-year-old specimen is the first of...

NEWS
Copulation Didn't Kill the Frogs, the Flood Did
Evolutionary scientists recently studied 168 frog fossils from central Germany, concluding that the frogs all drowned while aggressively mating. They claim...

CREATION PODCAST
What Can We Learn From Fossils? | The Creation Podcast: Episode...
Is evolution seen in the fossil record? Why are fossilized terrestrial animals found buried with marine creatures? What conditions were needed to form...

NEWS
Be Not Deceived: Spiritually Train to Overcome Secular Science...
Thorough instruction and discipline are the hallmark qualities of a strong military training program. Well-trained soldiers can think on their feet, adapt...