The ex-illiterate brain: the critical period, cognitive reserve and HAROLD model

Título traduzido da contribuição: O cérebro ex-analfabeto: o período crítico, reserva cognitiva e o modelo HAROLD

Maria Vania Silva Nunes, Alexandre Castro-Caldas*, Dolores del Rio, Fernado Maestú, Tomás Ortiz

*Autor correspondente para este trabalho

Resultado de pesquisarevisão de pares

6 Citações (Scopus)
10 Transferências (Pure)


The lifelong acquisition of cognitive skills shapes the biology of the brain. However, there are critical periods for the best use of the brain to process the acquired information. Objectives: To discuss the critical period of cognitive acquisition, the concept of cognitive reserve and the HAROLD (Hemispheric Asymmetry Reduction in Older adults) model. Methods: Seven women who learned how to read and to write after the age of 50 (exilliterates) and five women with 10 years of regular schooling (controls) were submitted to a language recognition test while brain activity was being recorded using magnetoencephalography. Spoken words were delivered binaurally via two plastic tubs terminating in ear inserts, and recordings were made with a whole head magnetometer consisting of 148 magnetometer coils. Results: Both groups performed similarly on the task of identifying target words. Analysis of the number of sources of activity in the left and right hemispheres revealed significant differences between the two groups, showing that ex-illiterate subjects exhibited less brain functional asymmetry during the language task. Conclusions: These results should be interpreted with caution because the groups were small. However, these findings reinforce the concept that poorly educated subjects tend to use the brain for information processing in a different way to subjects with a high educational level or who were schooled at the regular time. Finally, the recruiting of both hemispheres to tackle the language recognition test occurred to a greater degree in the ex-illiterate group where this can be interpreted as a sign of difficulty performing the task.
Título traduzido da contribuiçãoO cérebro ex-analfabeto: o período crítico, reserva cognitiva e o modelo HAROLD
Idioma originalEnglish
Páginas (de-até)222-227
Número de páginas6
RevistaDementia e Neuropsychologia
Número de emissão3
Estado da publicaçãoPublicado - 2009


  • Brain asymmetry
  • Cognitive reserve
  • HAROLD model
  • Illiteracy
  • Language
  • Magnetoencephalography

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