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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 6, Issue 2, Pages 107-112

Neuropsychology of Illiteracy

M. Rosselli1,2

1Unidad de Neurología, Hospital San Juan de Dios, Bogotá, Colombia, USA
2Apartado Aéreo 17021, Bogotá, Colombia, USA

Copyright © 1993 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


It is proposed that analysis of illiteracy can not only discern the influence of schooling background on neuropsychological test performance, but also contributes to obtaining a better understanding about the cerebral organization of cognitive activity. Brain organization of cognition, and cognitive sequelae of brain pathology in illiterates are reviewed. It is concluded that: (1) cognitive abilities, as measured by standard neuropsychological tests, are significantly influenced by schooling background; and (2) educational and cultural variables may affect the degree (albeit, not the direction) of hemispheric dominance for language, and other cognitive abilities. A more bilateral representation of cognitive abilities in illiterates is hypothesized.