The study, done with researchers at Boston Children's Hospital, found a correlation between poor pre-reading skills in kindergartners and the size of a brain structure that connects two language-processing areas. Previous studies have shown that in adults with poor reading skills, this structure, known as the arcuate fasciculus, is smaller and less organized than in adults who read normally. When comparing the brain scans and the results of several different types of pre-reading tests, the researchers found a correlation between the size and organization of the arcuate fasciculus and performance on tests of phonological awareness -- the ability to identify and manipulate the sounds of language. The researchers plan to follow three waves of children as they progress to second grade and evaluate whether the brain measures they have identified predict poor reading skills.
But soccer-playing humanoid robot Nao has been evolving by developing "emotions" under a European project and is now being used in the U.S. in sessions to treat autistic children. It's no surprise that the researchers have also been experimenting with Aibo, including the cyberpup and Nao in a "robot nursery" designed to incubate emotional behaviors. The Feelix Growing project concluded in May, involving eight universities and robotics firms including Aldebaran. "Children with autism spectrum disorder typically feel more comfortable with robots than with other people initially, because robot interactions are simpler and more predictable and the children are in control of the social interaction," CHIP researcher Anjana Bhat was quoted as saying in a release.