Da Vinci, Picasso 'suffered from dyslexia'

Now, scientists say the two great artists of all time did suffer from dyslexia, also called "word blindness", after they found that it brings keen spatial awareness which makes the difference between a jobbing painter and a master of art.

A team of psychologists from Middlesex University has based its findings on an analysis of 41 men and women who were put through tests to assess their visuo-spatial ability. Half of those taking part were dyslexic and so had trouble learning to spell, read and write, the 'Daily Mail' reported.

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, the study revealed.

They were also faster and more accurate at navigating their way around a "virtual town" on a computer screen.

The scientists said there could be many explanations for the findings, including dyslexics developing an enhanced sense of space to compensate for problems with language.
Dr Nicola Brunswick, who led the team, 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."
However, the dyslexic women had no better spatial awareness than the other women, perhaps reflecting that the ability to manipulate 3D images tends to be more of a "male" trait, according to the findings published in the 'Learning and Individual Differences' journal.

Although the idea that dyslexia brings with it a special understanding of space has been floated before, this study is the first to find firm evidence for it.

Dr Brunswick said: "A lot of tests in this area in the past have been 'paper and pencil' tests but these aren't good tests of real-world ability. Now we have real evidence to indicate that dyslexic men are better in this area."

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