, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 83–86 | Cite as

Pre-literate people in New Guinea and indonesia draw specifically distorted faces, as do ‘Western’ dyslexics, using a paleo visual-representational mode

  • Anneliese A. Pontius


Third World populations with a persisting high percentage of preliterates within individual groups draw specifically distorted patterns of the human face characteristic of ‘neolithic art’ to a degree negatively correlated with the accessibility of reading instruction. A subgroup of ‘Western’ dyslexic youths also draw these distorted face patterns, which, moreover, facilitate infants ‘smiling response’. These findings suggest the persistence of a developmentally early visual representational mode which proceeds in a global way, disregarding differences in characterizing details, whether of face patterns or of lexical symbols.


Indonesia Face Characteristic World Population Individual Group Human Face 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anneliese A. Pontius
    • 1
  1. 1.Harvard Medical School, McLean HospitalBelmontUSA

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