Phonological but not auditory discrimination is impaired in dyslexia
Article first published online: 20 NOV 2006
European Journal of Neuroscience
Volume 24, Issue 10, pages 2945–2953, November 2006
How to Cite
Paul, I., Bott, C., Heim, S., Wienbruch, C. and Elbert, T. R. (2006), Phonological but not auditory discrimination is impaired in dyslexia. European Journal of Neuroscience, 24: 2945–2953. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2006.05153.x
- Issue published online: 20 NOV 2006
- Article first published online: 20 NOV 2006
- Received 19 September 2006,revised 24 August 2006,accepted 30 August 2006
Deficient phonological skills are considered to be a core problem in developmental dyslexia. Children with dyslexia often demonstrate poorer performance than non-impaired readers when categorizing speech-sounds. Using the automatic mismatch response, we show that in contrast to this deficit at the behavioural level, neurophysiological responding in dyslexic children indicates their ability to automatically discriminate syllables. Therefore, the phonological deficit is unlikely to be caused by a temporal deficit or by a noisy functional organization in the respective representational cortex. We obtained measures of reading, spelling and categorical speech-perception from 58 dyslexic children and 21 control children. The children also participated in magnetoencephalographic measurements while being stimulated acoustically with the syllables /ba/ and /da/ in an oddball paradigm. Mismatch field (MMF) amplitudes between standard and deviant stimuli were obtained. Dyslexic children performed more poorly than control children on all test measures. However, the groups did not differ in MMF amplitude or latency. No correlations were found between MMF amplitudes and behavioural performance.
These results were obtained with a large sample size and thus speak robustly against a general deficit in auditory discrimination in dyslexia. These results are compatible with the idea that decoding difficulties occur later in the processing stream where access to the phonological lexicon is attempted.