Perceptual Discrimination of Speech Sounds in Developmental Dyslexia Experiments previously reported in the literature suggest that people with dyslexia have a deficit in categorical perception. However, it is still unclear whether the deficit is specific to the perception of speech sounds or whether it more generally affects auditory function. In order to investigate the relationship between categorical perception ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2001
Perceptual Discrimination of Speech Sounds in Developmental Dyslexia
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Willy Serniclaes
    Laboratoire de Statistique Médicale Ecole de Santé Publique Université Libre de Bruxelles Brussels, Belgium
  • Liliane Sprenger-Charolles
    CNRS — LEAPLE and Université René Descartes Paris, France
  • René Carré
    CNRS Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications Paris, France
  • Jean-Francois Demonet
    INSERM U455 Fédération de Neurologie Hôpital Purpan Toulouse, France
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Language Disorders / Reading & Writing Disorders / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2001
Perceptual Discrimination of Speech Sounds in Developmental Dyslexia
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2001, Vol. 44, 384-399. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2001/032)
History: Received April 11, 2000 , Accepted November 21, 2000
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2001, Vol. 44, 384-399. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2001/032)
History: Received April 11, 2000; Accepted November 21, 2000
Web of Science® Times Cited: 137

Experiments previously reported in the literature suggest that people with dyslexia have a deficit in categorical perception. However, it is still unclear whether the deficit is specific to the perception of speech sounds or whether it more generally affects auditory function. In order to investigate the relationship between categorical perception and dyslexia, as well as the nature of this categorization deficit, speech specific or not, the discrimination responses of children who have dyslexia and those of average readers to sinewave analogues of speech sounds were compared. These analogues were presented in two different conditions, either as nonspeech whistles or as speech sounds. Results showed that children with dyslexia are less categorical than average readers in the speech condition, mainly because they are better at discriminating acoustic differences between stimuli belonging to the same category. In the nonspeech condition, discrimination was also better for children with dyslexia, but differences in categorical perception were less clear-cut. Further, the location of the categorical boundary on the stimulus continuum differed between speech and nonspeech conditions. As a whole, this study shows that categorical deficit in children with dyslexia results primarily from an increased perceptibility of within-category differences and that it has a speech-specific component. These findings may have profound implications for learning and re-education.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by the French INSERMPROGRES project Cerveau, perception de la parole et dyslexie and by a grant from the Ministère de l’éducation nationale, de la recherche et de la technologie (Direction de la recherche)—Actions concertées incitatives: Perturbations et récupération des fonctions cognitives chez le sujet normal et chez le sujet pathologique.
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