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Children with dyslexia reveal abnormal native language representations: Evidence from a study of mismatch negativity

Authors

  • Jennifer Bruder,

    1. Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Munich, Munich, Germany
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  • Paavo H. T. Leppänen,

    1. Finnish Center of Excellence in Learning and Motivation Research, Department of Psychology, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
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  • Jürgen Bartling,

    1. Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Munich, Munich, Germany
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  • Valéria Csépe,

    1. Research Group of Developmental Psychophysiology, Research Institute of Psychology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary
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  • Jean-Francois Démonet,

    1. Inserm, Imagerie cerebrale et handicaps neurologiques UMR 825, Toulouse, France
    2. Universite de Toulouse, UPS, Imagerie cerebrale et handicaps neurologiques UMR 825, CHU Purpan, Toulouse, France
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  • Gerd Schulte-Körne

    1. Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Munich, Munich, Germany
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  • We would like to acknowledge the collective work of WP7 of the NeuroDys Consortium (PIs Valéria Csépe and Paavo Lepäänen) as well as Jyrki Tuomainen, who through great effort designed the stimuli and the original cross-linguistic paradigm. We thank Julia Kaya for her great work in subject recruitment and testing. Finally, special thanks to all of the children and their parents who were so kind and willing to participate in this study and who continue to take part in many important studies. This research was funded by the European Union Sixth Framework Programme #018696 “NeuroDys Dyslexia Genes and Neurobiological Pathways.” The collection and evaluation of the presented data was performed by Jennifer Bruder as part of her Ph.D. thesis (Medical Faculty, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatic and Psychotherapy, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich).

Address correspondence to: Gerd Schulte-Körne, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Pettenkofer Str. 8a, 80336 Munich, Germany. E-mail: gerd.schulte-koerne@med.uni-muenchen.de

Abstract

Although a deficit perceiving phonemes, as indexed by the mismatch negativity (MMN), is apparent in developmental dyslexia (DD), studies have not yet addressed whether this deficit might be a result of deficient native language speech representations. The present study examines how a native-vowel prototype and an atypical vowel are discriminated by 9-year-old children with (n=14) and without (n=12) DD. MMN was elicited in all conditions in both groups. The control group revealed enhanced MMN to the native-vowel prototype in comparison to the atypical vowel. Children with DD did not show enhanced MMN amplitude to the native-vowel prototype, suggesting impaired tuning to native language speech representations. Furthermore, higher MMN amplitudes to the native-vowel prototype correlated with more advanced reading (r=−.47) and spelling skills (r=−.52).

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