Dyslexics may have played an important role in the survival of our species

Dyslexics may have played an important role in the survival of our species

Dyslexia, defined as an impairment in the ability to read, or difficulty in recognizing and reproducing written language, is often associated with a host of negative characteristics. Far from this traditional vision, a new scientific study published in the journal Frontiers of Psychology, invites us to change the paradigm, to see this disorder from a totally different angle. An angle where dyslexia is actually an advantage, which throughout history has helped the human species adapt to different situations.

For psychologists from the University of Cambridge, members of the study, people who have more difficulty quickly interpreting written words would benefit from an increased ability to explore their environment in order to compensate for this lack. A capacity that would allow them to make decisions off the beaten path much more quickly.


Psychologically speaking, our minds are torn by a compromise called exploitation/exploration, reports Science Alert. When we have to make a decision, this compromise pushes us to be sure of the information we have, but also to try to anticipate the final result. For dyslexics, the balance tips on the side of exploration.

As a strategy for adapting to a world that they sometimes struggle to decipher, dyslexics observe, explore and seek information about the world instead of reinterpreting information already recorded. A characteristic that would make them more inventive and creative, adds Futurismwhile allowing them to make decisions much more quickly.

This last point is particularly important, notes the study. Knowing that this disorder is largely transmitted by genes in a hereditary way and that currently between 5% and 10% of the population is affected, dyslexia must have been favored in evolution. The members of the study therefore suggest that dyslexics, with their love of exploration and their ability to make quick decisions, may have played an important role in the survival of our species throughout history. But in our time, when writing and reading have become paramount, these advantages would be somewhat overshadowed by their difficulties.

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