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

Dyslexia, defined as a disorder of the ability to read, or recognition to recognize and reproduce written language, is often associated with a whole 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 interpreting written words quickly would benefit from an increased ability to explore their environment in order to make up for this lack. An ability that allows them to make decisions off the beaten track much faster.


Psychologically speaking, our minds are pulled by a trade-off called exploitation/exploration, Science Alert reports. 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 futurism, while allowing them to make decisions much faster.

This last point is particularly important, note 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 study members therefore speculated 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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