The secret of Leonardo Da Vinci’s talent and Pablo Picasso’s success may have been their dyslexia. The two men both suffered from the ‘word blindness’ that affects as many as one in 12 children – but it seems it can also bring the keen spatial awareness that makes the difference between a jobbing painter and a master of art.
The finding, from Middlesex University psychologists, could help explain the brilliance of some of the greatest artists of all time and the timelessness of works such as the Mona Lisa. The researchers put 41 men and women through tests to assess their visuo-spatial ability. Around half of those taking part were dyslexic and so had trouble learning to spell, read and write. The dyslexic men did better than the other men on many of the tests, including recalling the direction of the Queen’s head on a postage stamp and reproducing designs using coloured blocks.
They were also faster and more accurate at navigating their way around a ‘virtual town’ on a computer screen, the journal Learning and Individual Differences reports. The researchers said there could be several explanations for the findings, including dyslexics developing an enhanced sense of space to compensate for problems with language.
Dr Nicola Brunswick said: ‘Also, many dyslexic people prefer to work out problems by thinking and doing rather than by speaking. This could help dyslexic men develop the kind of skills they need to succeed in the artistic and creative worlds.’
Artists known or believed to have suffered from dyslexia include Da Vinci, Picasso, Rodin and Andy Warhol.
dyslexia [dis'leksiə] n. 诵读困难;阅读障碍;难语症