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Script Effects as the Hidden Drive of the Mind, Cognition, and Culture

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  • Open Access
  • © 2020

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  • Examines the origin, emergence, and co-evolution of written language, the human mind, and culture within the purview of script effects
  • Investigates how the scripts we read over time shape our cognition, mind, and thought patterns
  • Provides a new outlook on the four representative writing systems of the world
  • Discusses the consequences of literacy for the functioning of the mind

Part of the book series: Literacy Studies (LITS, volume 21)

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About this book

This open access volume reveals the hidden power of the script we read in and how it shapes and drives our minds, ways of thinking, and cultures.  Expanding on the Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis (i.e., the idea that language affects the way we think), this volume proposes the “Script Relativity Hypothesis” (i.e., the idea that the script in which we read affects the way we think) by offering a unique perspective on the effect of script (alphabets, morphosyllabaries, or multi-scripts) on our attention, perception, and problem-solving.  Once we become literate, fundamental changes occur in our brain circuitry to accommodate the new demand for resources.  The powerful effects of literacy have been demonstrated by research on literate versus illiterate individuals, as well as cross-scriptal transfer, indicating that literate brain networks function differently, depending on the script being read.  This book identifies the locus of differences between the Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans, and between the East and the West, as the neural underpinnings of literacy.  To support the “Script Relativity Hypothesis, it reviews a vast corpus of empirical studies, including anthropological accounts of human civilization, social psychology, cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, applied linguistics, second language studies, and cross-cultural communication. It also discusses the impact of reading from screens in the digital age, as well as the impact of bi-script or multi-script use, which is a growing trend around the globe.  As a result, our minds, ways of thinking, and cultures are now growing closer together, not farther apart.

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Table of contents (12 chapters)


“This book is of interest to anthropology, East Asian studies, literacy studies, cross-cultural studies, linguistics, philosophy, and second language studies as a reference and/or as a graduate course text. … The book also includes ample practical examples from published work as well as from prolific multilingual and international scholars. These examples are helpful for learning and teaching in the aforementioned areas and therefore will be of interest to a wide range of researchers and practitioners.” (Gulbahar H Beckett, Sociolinguistic Studies, Vol. 17 (1-3), 2023)

Authors and Affiliations

  • School of Education, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, USA

    Hye K. Pae

About the author

Hye K. Pae, Ph.D., is currently a Professor of Applied Linguistics and Psycholinguistics in the Literacy and Second Language Studies Program at the University of Cincinnati, U.S.A.  Her main research centers on the relationship between reading and cognition, reading in the first and second languages, cross-linguistic influences, and assessment challenges across cultures.  Her work in these areas has appeared in books, book chapters, and a number of articles in main journals of the fields of psycholinguistics, second language studies, and assessment.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Script Effects as the Hidden Drive of the Mind, Cognition, and Culture

  • Authors: Hye K. Pae

  • Series Title: Literacy Studies

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Education, Education (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2020

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-55151-3Published: 15 October 2020

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-55154-4Published: 16 October 2021

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-55152-0Published: 14 October 2020

  • Series ISSN: 2214-000X

  • Series E-ISSN: 2214-0018

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XXIV, 251

  • Number of Illustrations: 21 b/w illustrations

  • Topics: Literacy, Language Education, Cognitive Linguistics

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