Why Learning Styles Based on Sensory Organs Make No Sense

This article (click here for link) describes what is occurring in the human brain when an individual encounters a literary work. I used the word “encounter” deliberately. That’s because, according to the research team quoted here, the same areas of the brain are activated, whether one encounters the literary work through reading a book or through listening to a recording, for example on a podcast.

I have always taken care to distinguish “multiple intelligences” from “learning styles” (see my article in The Washington Post, click here for link.) And what I have found particularly objectionable is the claim that individuals have “auditory” or “visual” or other sensory-based learning styles. Were this the case, then how we process literature would differ, depending on whether we read it or listen to it. In contrast, in speaking of intelligences, I always stress that the intelligence becomes operative only after information has been received by the cortex, whether it is received by sensory organ A or sensory organ B. And, thinking specifically about language, what matters is not whether the language is heard (auditory), read (visual) or perceived by touch (tactile, as with braille). This research nicely confirms this important distinction.