12 Pages

Conclusion: Integration of Methodologies in Cognitive Neuroscience—Research, Planning, and Policy

As noted at the outset of this book, in recent years, research on assessment and treatment of specific reading disability (dyslexia) has become a magnet for the application of new techniques and technologies from genetics, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and cognitive neuroscience. This interdisciplinary trend has yielded numerous and diverse findings regarding the brain and cognitive bases of this syndrome, but work aimed at integrating these findings from very different levels of analysis is just beginning (and was a key motivating factor in the choices we made regarding themes and participants at the symposium from which this book arose). At the level of genetics, a number of candidate genes have been proposed, but this work is just beginning. At the level of brain systems, neurobiological anomalies at key left hemisphere (LH) posterior regions have been observed with surprising consistency in different languages and across different developmental stages, and links between individual differences in brain circuits and behavioral profiles of strengths and weaknesses have been reported. Moreover, several recent studies have demonstrated that intensive remediation/ intervention can be associated with increased response of these LH posterior systems, suggesting some degree, at least, of latent functionality in these circuits. These seminal findings on brain plasticity in dyslexia are highly promising but need to be expanded to include a deeper focus on individual differences, differential profiles in distinct written languages, and greater integration across levels of analysis.