Dyslexia Limits the Ability to Categorize Talker Dialect Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine whether the underlying phonological impairment in dyslexia is associated with a deficit in categorizing regional dialects. Method Twenty adults with dyslexia, 20 school-age children with dyslexia, and 40 corresponding control listeners with average reading ability listened to sentences produced ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2016
Dyslexia Limits the Ability to Categorize Talker Dialect
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Gayle Beam Long
    The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Robert Allen Fox
    The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Ewa Jacewicz
    The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Robert Allen Fox: fox.2@osu.edu
  • Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor: Jody Kreiman×
  • Associate Editor: Joan Sussman
    Associate Editor: Joan Sussman×
Article Information
Development / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Normal Language Processing / Language Disorders / Reading & Writing Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2016
Dyslexia Limits the Ability to Categorize Talker Dialect
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2016, Vol. 59, 900-914. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-S-15-0106
History: Received March 18, 2015 , Revised July 21, 2015 , Accepted January 8, 2016
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2016, Vol. 59, 900-914. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-S-15-0106
History: Received March 18, 2015; Revised July 21, 2015; Accepted January 8, 2016

Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine whether the underlying phonological impairment in dyslexia is associated with a deficit in categorizing regional dialects.

Method Twenty adults with dyslexia, 20 school-age children with dyslexia, and 40 corresponding control listeners with average reading ability listened to sentences produced by multiple talkers (both sexes) representing two dialects: Midland dialect in Ohio (same as listeners' dialect) and Southern dialect in Western North Carolina. Participants' responses were analyzed using signal detection theory.

Results Listeners with dyslexia were less sensitive to talker dialect than listeners with average reading ability. Children were less sensitive to dialect than adults. Under stimulus uncertainty, listeners with average reading ability were biased toward Ohio dialect, whereas listeners with dyslexia were unbiased in their responses. Talker sex interacted with sensitivity and bias differently for listeners with dyslexia than for listeners with average reading ability. The correlations between dialect sensitivity and phonological memory scores were strongest for adults with dyslexia.

Conclusions The results imply that the phonological deficit in dyslexia arises from impaired access to intact phonological representations rather than from poorly specified representations. It can be presumed that the impeded access to implicit long-term memory representations for indexical (dialect) information is due to less efficient operations in working memory, including deficiencies in utilizing talker normalization processes.

Acknowledgments
This article was made possible, in part, by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R01 DC006871, awarded to Ewa Jacewicz. The contents of this article are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
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