Helen Tylor

Name: Helen Taylor

Position/title: Research Associate & Project Lead: Complementary Cognition, Entrepreneurship & Societal Adaptation, University of Strathclyde.
Affiliated Researcher, McDonald Institute, University of Cambridge.

Country: UK


Dyslexia work: I am dyslexic myself and work on understanding this form of cognition from an evolutionary perspective.

Through my research I have proposed that dyslexia is not a disorder but rather evidence that our species are neurocognitively specialised. Hence the ‘deficits’ we associate with dyslexia are not deficits but trade-offs that exist due to enhanced abilities in other areas.

My research proposes that humans evolved to specialise in different but complementary forms of cognition, styles of ‘thinking’, in the process of adapting to enormous environmental upheavals that shaped human evolution over hundreds of thousands of years. These differences in cognition are complementary and work together as a complex adaptive system. The first article outlining the evolutionary theory is summarised in the press release here: https://complementarycognition.co.uk/2021/06/complementary-cognition-press-release/

This work also has relevance for understanding ways of thinking often labelled ADHD or autism.

Through my research I am showing that what we have pathologised as dyslexia is a form of cognition that is critical in enabling human societies to adapt to change. This has implications for modern day human societies, including business, entrepreneurship and organisational design as well as how we adapt to existential threats such as climate change.


Email address: ht285@cam.ac.uk

Important links: https://complementarycognition.co.uk/