Research Topic: Mirror Generalization

Mirror generalization or mirror invariance are scientific terms describing a natural property of the visual system to recognize objects as being identical, even when seen in a reversed, mirror image context. This function can be observed in infants and in many animals, and also seems to remain constant and unimpaired in illiterate adults.

In order to learn to read with an alphabetic system that contains mirrored letters (such as b/d or p/q), a person must overcome or unlearn mirror generalization, in order to mentally recognize, distinguish, and retain a memory of the mirrored letters. The mirror generalization ability does not go away, but it is inhibited or suppressed in capable readers.

Research Articles:

Borst, Grégoire; Emmanuel Ahr, Margot Roell, Olivier Houdé. The cost of blocking the mirror generalization process in reading: evidence for the role of inhibitory control in discriminating letters with lateral mirror-image counterparts. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 228–234, 2015.

Dehaene, Stanislas ; and Kimihiro Nakamura, Antoinette Jobert, Chihiro Kuroki, Seiji Ogawa, Laurent Cohen. Why do children make mirror errors in reading? Neural correlates of mirror invariance in the visual word form area.. NeuroImage. Volume 49, Issue 2, 2010.

Duñabeitia, Jon Andoni; Nicola Molinaro, Manuel Carreiras. Through the looking-glass: Mirror reading. NeuroImage. Volume 54, Issue 4, Pages 3004-3009, 2011.

Fernandes, Tânia; Isabel Leite. Mirrors are hard to break: A critical review and behavioral evidence on mirror-image processing in developmental dyslexia. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. Volume 159, Pages 66-82, 2017.

Kolinsky Régine, Fernandes Tânia. A cultural side effect: learning to read interferes with identity processing of familiar objects. Frontiers in Psychology. Volume 5, page 1224, 2014.

Perea, Manuel; Carmen Moret-Tatay, Victoria Panadero. Suppression of mirror generalization for reversible letters: Evidence from masked priming. Journal of Memory and Language. Volume 65, Issue 3, pages 237-246, 2011.

Pegado Felipe, Nakamura Kimihiro, Hannagan Thomas. How does literacy break mirror invariance in the visual system?. Frontiers in Psychology. , 2014.

Pegado, F., Nakamura, K., Braga, L., Ventura, P., Nunes, G., Jobert, A., et al.. Literacy breaks mirror invariance for visual stimuli: a behavioral study with adult illiterates.. Journal of Experimental Psychology. 143(2), 887–894, 2014.

Soares, Ana Paula; Alexandrina Lages, Helena Oliveira, Juan Hernández. The mirror reflects more for d than for b: Right asymmetry bias on the visual recognition of words containing reversal letters. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. Volume 182, Pages 18-37, 2019.


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