Abstract: Standard Australian reading assessment tests are criticized for being culturally inappropriate for use with Australian Indigenous children, particularly for those living in remote and very remote regions, as these tests are culturally biased towards mainstream Australian culture and imperceptive to Indigenous knowledge, language, concepts, and contexts. Based on an established understanding of the relationship between reading acquisition and visual perceptual development, we sought to examine the visuospatial processing ability of Indigenous and non-Indigenous children to determine whether visuospatial tasks that measure dorsal and ventral processing - two key visual processes associated with reading - can provide an indicative measure of reading aptitude across cultures, independent of reading ability. Using a coherent motion task to test dorsal processing we found that dorsal processes develop similarly for age-matched Indigenous and non-Indigenous children (Study 1) and appear to facilitate early reading acquisition for both cultural groups, independent of age (Study 2 and subsequent analyses). Together, these results suggest that while dorsal processes may facilitate reading, reading is not necessary to facilitate dorsal development. Additionally, using a coherent form task to test ventral processing, we found an interactive association between ventral development and reading acquisition, particularly for non-Indigenous children. In interpreting these findings, we discuss possible cultural factors that may explain development of dorsal and ventral processes for Indigenous and non-Indigenous children, and why a relationship between ventral processing and reading acquisition was not evident for Indigenous children. We also consider the potential for scaffolding literacy learning for Indigenous children based on neurocognitive strengths.
Freire, Melissa R., Pammer, Kristen, 2022, Reading as a cultural tool for neurocognitive development: A complex interactive relationship between reading acquisition and visuospatial development for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, Journal Article, viewed 02 December 2023, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=29897.