New York: In what could help better diagnose reading disorders such as dyslexia, researchers have now mapped brain regions responsible for the affliction.
"We have these wonderful brain maps that describe where in the brain you are thinking about a wide variety of things," said Tom Mitchell from Pittsburg's Carnegie Mellon University.
For the study, the researchers performed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans of participants as they read a chapter of the book titled "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."
"It turns out that movement of the characters - such as when they are flying their brooms - is associated with activation in the same brain region that we use to perceive other people's motion," added Leila Wehbe from Carnegie Mellon.
Similarly, the characters in the story are associated with activation in the same brain region we use to process other people's intentions, Wehbe noted.
"Exactly how the brain creates these neural encodings is still a mystery," they said, "but it is the beginning of understanding what the brain is doing when a person reads or writes."
According to Wehbe and Mitchell, the model is still inexact but might someday be useful in studying and diagnosing reading disorders such as dyslexia, or to track the recovery of patients whose speech was impacted by a stroke.
It also might be used by educators to identify what might be giving a student trouble when learning a foreign language.
The study appeared online in the journal PLOS ONE.