In Search of the Auditory, Phonetic, and/or Phonological Problems in Dyslexia Context Effects in Speech Perception Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2004
In Search of the Auditory, Phonetic, and/or Phonological Problems in Dyslexia
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Leo Blomert
    Universiteit Maastricht, The Netherlands
  • Holger Mitterer
    Universiteit Maastricht, The Netherlands
  • Christiaan Paffen
    Universiteit Maastricht, The Netherlands
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: l.blomert@psychology.unimaas.nl
  • Contact author: Leo Blomert, PhD, Faculty of Psychology, Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Universiteit Maastricht, Postbus 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands. E-mail: l.blomert@psychology.unimaas.nl
Article Information
Development / Hearing & Speech Perception / Language Disorders / Reading & Writing Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2004
In Search of the Auditory, Phonetic, and/or Phonological Problems in Dyslexia
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2004, Vol. 47, 1030-1047. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/077)
History: Received April 15, 2003 , Revised July 29, 2003 , Accepted February 26, 2004
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2004, Vol. 47, 1030-1047. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/077)
History: Received April 15, 2003; Revised July 29, 2003; Accepted February 26, 2004
Web of Science® Times Cited: 37

There is a growing consensus that developmental dyslexia is associated with a phonological-core deficit. One symptom of this phonological deficit is a subtle speech-perception deficit. The auditory basis of this deficit is still hotly debated. If people with dyslexia, however, do not have an auditory deficit and perceive the underlying acoustic dimensions of speech as well as people who read normally, then why do they exhibit a categorical-perception deficit? A potential answer to this conundrum lies in the possibility that people with dyslexia do not adequately handle the context-dependent variation that speech signals typically contain. A mathematical model simulating such a sensitivity deficit mimics the speech-perception deficits attributed to dyslexia. To assess the nature of the dyslexic problem, the authors examined whether children with dyslexia handle context dependencies in speech differently than do normal-reading individuals. Contrary to the initial hypothesis, children with dyslexia did not show less context sensitivity in speech perception than did normal-reading individuals at auditory, phonetic, and phonological levels of processing, nor did they reveal any categorization deficit. Instead, intrinsic properties of online phonological processes, not phonological representations per se, may be impaired in dyslexia.

Acknowledgments
We wish to thank the Regionaal Instituut voor Dyslexia in The Netherlands and the elementary schools Aloysius and de Perroen in Maastricht for their collaboration; we also thank Paul Boersma for sharing his PRAAT software package and providing support. This research was supported by Grant 048.011.046 from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research to Leo Blomert.
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