Bennett Arthur Shaywitz MD

Charles and Helen Schwab Professor of Pediatrics (Neurology) and Professor of Neurology; Section Chief, Pediatric Neurology; Co-Director, Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity

Research Interests

Neurobiology of Reading & Dyslexia; Attentional Mechanisms in reading

Current Projects

Studies in progress:
  • Development of automatic reading systems
  • Attentional mechanisms in reading and reading disability
  • Neural systems for math and math disability in children
  • Influence of specific reading interventions on specific neural systems
  • Magnetic resonance spectroscopy in reading disability
  • Connecticut Longitudinal Study at adulthood
  • Genetic studies of reading disability
  • Neural systems in the development of adolescent literacy.

Research Summary

Developmental dyslexia is characterized by an unexpected difficulty in reading in children and adults who otherwise possess the intelligence and motivation considered necessary for accurate and fluent reading. Recent advances in imaging technology provide the potential for elucidating a biological signature for reading and reading disability.

Bennett A. Shaywitz, M.D. is a leader in applying functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to understand the neurobiology of reading and dyslexia in children and adults. These studies identify a neural signature for dyslexia, making a previously hidden disability visible, and for the first time demonstrate the brain basis for the accommodation of extra time needed by dyslexic readers on high-stakes standardized tests. Shaywitz is currently using fMRI to investigate attentional mechanisms in dyslexia.

Our research group uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the brain organization for reading including:

  1. Identification and localization of specific systems;
  2. Differences in good and poor readers;
  3. Computational role of each system;
  4. Plasticity, i.e., response to intervention;
  5. Types of reading disability.


Selected Publications

  • Paying attention to reading: the neurobiology of reading and dyslexia. Shaywitz SE, Shaywitz BA. Dev Psychopathol. 2008 Fall;20(4):1329-49.
  • The education of dyslexic children from childhood to young adulthood. Shaywitz SE, Morris R, Shaywitz BA. Annu Rev Psychol. 2008;59:451-75.
  • Longitudinal models of developmental dynamics between reading and cognition from childhood to adolescence. Ferrer E, McArdle JJ, Shaywitz BA, Holahan JM, Marchione K, Shaywitz SE. Dev Psychol. 2007 Nov;43(6):1460-73.
  • A case of less than meets the eye. Shaywitz BA, Ferrer E, Shaywitz SE. Ann Neurol. 2007 Aug;62(2):109-11.

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