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Keywords:

  • Dyslexia;
  • Temporal processing;
  • Preattentive auditory discrimination;
  • Mismatch negativity

Although the generality of dyslexia and its devastating effects on the individual's life are widely acknowledged, its precursors and associated neural mechanisms are poorly understood. One of the two major competing views maintains that dyslexia is based primarily on a deficit in linguistic processing, whereas the other view suggests a more general processing deficit, one involving the perception of temporal information. Here we present evidence in favor of the latter view by showing that the neural discrimination of temporal information within complex tone patterns fails in dyslexic adults. This failure can be traced to early cortical mechanisms that process auditory information independently of attention.