Orthographic and phonological preview benefits: parafoveal processing in skilled and less-skilled deaf readers.
ABSTRACT: Many deaf individuals do not develop the high-level reading skills that will allow them to fully take part into society. To attempt to explain this widespread difficulty in the deaf population, much research has honed in on the use of phonological codes during reading. The hypothesis that the use of phonological codes is associated with good reading skills in deaf readers, though not well supported, still lingers in the literature. We investigated skilled and less-skilled adult deaf readers' processing of orthographic and phonological codes in parafoveal vision during reading by monitoring their eye movements and using the boundary paradigm. Orthographic preview benefits were found in early measures of reading for skilled hearing, skilled deaf, and less-skilled deaf readers, but only skilled hearing readers processed phonological codes in parafoveal vision. Crucially, skilled and less-skilled deaf readers showed a very similar pattern of preview benefits during reading. These results support the notion that reading difficulties in deaf adults are not linked to their failure to activate phonological codes during reading.
Project description:UNLABELLED:While reading is challenging for many deaf individuals, some become proficient readers. Little is known about the component processes that support reading comprehension in these individuals. Speech-based phonological knowledge is one of the strongest predictors of reading comprehension in hearing individuals, yet its role in deaf readers is controversial. This could reflect the highly varied language backgrounds among deaf readers as well as the difficulty of disentangling the relative contribution of phonological versus orthographic knowledge of spoken language, in our case 'English,' in this population. Here we assessed the impact of language experience on reading comprehension in deaf readers by recruiting oral deaf individuals, who use spoken English as their primary mode of communication, and deaf native signers of American Sign Language. First, to address the contribution of spoken English phonological knowledge in deaf readers, we present novel tasks that evaluate phonological versus orthographic knowledge. Second, the impact of this knowledge, as well as memory measures that rely differentially on phonological (serial recall) and semantic (free recall) processing, on reading comprehension was evaluated. The best predictor of reading comprehension differed as a function of language experience, with free recall being a better predictor in deaf native signers than in oral deaf. In contrast, the measures of English phonological knowledge, independent of orthographic knowledge, best predicted reading comprehension in oral deaf individuals. These results suggest successful reading strategies differ across deaf readers as a function of their language experience, and highlight a possible alternative route to literacy in deaf native signers. HIGHLIGHTS:1. Deaf individuals vary in their orthographic and phonological knowledge of English as a function of their language experience. 2. Reading comprehension was best predicted by different factors in oral deaf and deaf native signers. 3. Free recall memory (primacy effect) better predicted reading comprehension in deaf native signers as compared to oral deaf or hearing individuals. 4. Language experience should be taken into account when considering cognitive processes that mediate reading in deaf individuals.
Project description:In low-level perceptual tasks and reading tasks, deaf individuals show a redistribution of spatial visual attention toward the parafoveal and peripheral visual fields. In the present study, the experiment adopted the modified flanker paradigm and utilized a lexical decision task to investigate how these unique visual skills may influence foveal lexical access in deaf individuals. It was predicted that irrelevant linguistic stimuli presented in parafoveal vision, during a lexical decision task, would produce a larger interference effect for deaf college student readers if the stimuli acted as distractors during the task. The results showed there was a larger interference effect in deaf college student readers compared to the interference effect observed in participants with typical levels of hearing. Furthermore, deaf college student readers with low-skilled reading levels showed a larger interference effect than those with high-skilled reading levels. The current study demonstrates that the redistribution of spatial visual attention toward the parafoveal visual regions in deaf students impacts foveal lexical processing, and this effect is modulated by reading skill. The findings are discussed in relation to the potential effect that enhanced parafoveal attention may have on everyday reading for deaf individuals.
Project description:It is commonly accepted that phonological codes can be activated parafoveally during reading and later used to aid foveal word recognition- a finding known as the phonological preview benefit. However, a closer look at the literature shows that this effect may be less consistent than what is sometimes believed. To determine the extent to which phonology is processed parafoveally, a Bayesian meta-analysis of 27 experiments and a survey of the unpublished literature were conducted. While the results were generally consistent with the phonological preview benefit (>90% probability of a true effect in gaze durations), the size of the effect was small. Readers of alphabetical orthographies obtained a modest benefit of only 4 ms in gaze durations. Interestingly, Chinese readers showed a larger effect (6-14 ms in size). There was no difference in the magnitude of the phonological preview benefit between homophone and pseudo-homophone previews, thus suggesting that the modest processing advantage is indeed related to the activation of phonological codes from the parafoveal word. Simulations revealed that the results are relatively robust to missing studies, although the effects may be 19-22% smaller if all missing studies found a null effect. The results suggest that while phonology can be processed parafoveally, this happens only to a limited extent. Because phonological priming effects in single-word recognition are small (10-13 ms; Rastle & Brysbaert, 2006) and there is a loss of visual acuity in the parafovea, it is argued that large phonological preview benefit effects may be unlikely.
Project description:Resilient readers are characterized by impaired phonological processing despite skilled text comprehension. We investigated orthographic and semantic processing in resilient readers to examine mechanisms of compensation for poor phonological decoding. Performance on phonological (phoneme deletion, pseudoword reading), orthographic (orthographic choice, orthographic analogy), and semantic (semantic priming, homograph resolution) tasks was compared between resilient, poor and proficient readers. Asymmetry of the planum temporale was investigated in order to determine whether atypical readers showed unusual morphology in this language-relevant region. Resilient readers showed deficits on phonological tasks similar to those shown by poor readers. We obtained no evidence that resilient readers compensate via superior orthographic processing, as they showed neither exceptional orthographic skill nor increased reliance on orthography to guide pronunciation. Resilient readers benefited more than poor or proficient readers from semantic relationships between words and experienced greater difficulty when such relationships were not present. We suggest, therefore, that resilient readers compensate for poor phonological decoding via greater reliance on word meaning relationships. The reading groups did not differ in mean asymmetry of the planum temporale. However, resilient readers showed greater variability in planar asymmetry than proficient readers. Poor readers also showed a trend towards greater variability in planar asymmetry, with more poor readers than proficient readers showing extreme asymmetry. Such increased variability suggests that university students with less reading skill display less well regulated brain anatomy than proficient readers.
Project description:It has been proposed that poor reading abilities in deaf readers might be related to weak connections between the orthographic and lexical-semantic levels of processing. Here we used event related potentials (ERPs), known for their excellent time resolution, to examine whether lexical feedback modulates early orthographic processing. Twenty congenitally deaf readers made lexical decisions to target words and pseudowords. Each of those target stimuli could be preceded by a briefly presented matched-case or mismatched-case identity prime (e.g., ALTAR-ALTAR vs. altar- ALTAR). Results showed an early effect of case overlap at the N/P150 for all targets. Critically, this effect disappeared for words but not for pseudowords, at the N250-an ERP component sensitive to orthographic processing. This dissociation in the effect of case for word and pseudowords targets provides strong evidence of early automatic lexical-semantic feedback modulating orthographic processing in deaf readers. Interestingly, despite the dissociation found in the ERP data, behavioural responses to words still benefited from the physical overlap between prime and target, particularly in less skilled readers and those with less experience with words. Overall, our results support the idea that skilled deaf readers have a stronger connection between the orthographic and the lexical-semantic levels of processing.
Project description:Previous studies have indicated that the relationship between magnocellular-dorsal (M-D) function and reading-related skills may vary with reading development in readers of alphabetic languages. Since this relationship could be affected by the orthographic depth of writing systems, the present study explored the relationship between M-D function and reading-related skills in Chinese, a writing system with a deeper orthography than alphabetic languages. Thirty-seven primary school students and fifty-one undergraduate students participated. Orthographic and phonological awareness tests were adopted as reading-related skill measurements. A steady-pedestal paradigm was used to assess the low-spatial-frequency contrast thresholds of M-D function. Results showed that M-D function was only correlated with orthographic awareness for adults, revealing an enhancement with reading development; while being related to phonological awareness only for children revealing a developmental decrement. It suggested that the mechanism responsible for the relationship between M-D activity and reading-related skills was affected by the characteristics of literacy development in Chinese.
Project description:Word identification is undeniably important for skilled reading and ultimately reading comprehension. Interestingly, both lexical and sublexical procedures can support word identification. Recent cross-linguistic comparisons have demonstrated that there are biases in orthographic coding (e.g., holistic vs. analytic) linked with differences in writing systems, such that holistic orthographic coding is correlated with lexical-level reading procedures and vice versa. The current study uses a measure of holistic visual processing used in the face processing literature, orientation sensitivity, to test individual differences in word identification within a native English population. Results revealed that greater orientation sensitivity (i.e., greater holistic processing) was associated with a reading profile that relies less on sublexical phonological measures and more on lexical-level characteristics within the skilled English readers. Parallels to Chinese procedures of reading and a proposed alternative route to skilled reading are discussed.
Project description:Many studies focused on the letter and sound co-occurrences to account for the well-documented syllable-based effects in French in visual (pseudo)word processing. Although these language-specific statistical properties are crucial, recent data suggest that studies that go all-in on phonological and orthographic regularities may be misguided in interpreting how-and why-readers locate syllable boundaries and segment clusters. Indeed, syllable-based effects could depend on more abstract, universal phonological constraints that rule and govern how letter and sound occur and co-occur, and readers could be sensitive to sonority-a universal phonological element-for processing (pseudo)words. Here, we investigate whether French adult skilled readers rely on universal phonological sonority-related markedness continuum across the syllable boundaries for segmentation (e.g., from marked, illegal intervocalic clusters /zl/ to unmarked, legal intervocalic clusters /lz/). To address this question, we ran two tasks with 128 French adult skilled readers using two versions of the illusory conjunction paradigm (Task 1 without white noise; Task 2 with white noise). Our results show that syllable location and segmentation in reading is early and automatically modulated by phonological sonority-related markedness in the absence or quasi-absence of statistical information and does not require acoustic-phonetic information. We discuss our results toward the overlooked role of phonological universals and the over-trusted role of statistical information during reading processes.
Project description:Previous studies have found that children with reading difficulties need more exposures to acquire the representations needed to support fluent reading than typically developing readers (e.g., Ehri and Saltmarsh, 1995). Building on existing orthographic learning paradigms, we report on an investigation of orthographic learning in poor readers using a new learning task tracking both the accuracy (untimed exposure duration) and fluency (200 ms exposure duration) of learning novel words over trials. In study 1, we used the paradigm to examine orthographic learning in children with specific poor reader profiles (nine with a surface profile, nine a phonological profile) and nine age-matched controls. Both profiles showed improvement over the learning cycles, but the children with surface profile showed impaired orthographic learning in spelling and orthographic choice tasks. Study 2 explored predictors of orthographic learning in a group of 91 poor readers using the same outcome measures as in Study 1. Consistent with earlier findings in typically developing readers, phonological decoding skill predicted orthographic learning. Moreover, orthographic knowledge significantly predicted orthographic learning over and beyond phonological decoding. The two studies provide insights into how poor readers learn novel words, and how their learning process may be compromised by less proficient orthographic and/or phonological skills.
Project description:Individuals with significant hearing loss often fail to attain competency in reading orthographic scripts which encode the sound properties of spoken language. Nevertheless, some profoundly deaf individuals do learn to read at age-appropriate levels. The question of what differentiates proficient deaf readers from less-proficient readers is poorly understood but topical, as efforts to develop appropriate and effective interventions are needed. This study uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine brain activation in deaf readers (N = 21), comparing proficient (N = 11) and less proficient (N = 10) readers' performance in a widely used test of implicit reading. Proficient deaf readers activated left inferior frontal gyrus and left middle and superior temporal gyrus in a pattern that is consistent with regions reported in hearing readers. In contrast, the less-proficient readers exhibited a pattern of response characterized by inferior and middle frontal lobe activation (right>left) which bears some similarity to areas reported in studies of logographic reading, raising the possibility that these individuals are using a qualitatively different mode of orthographic processing than is traditionally observed in hearing individuals reading sound-based scripts. The evaluation of proficient and less-proficient readers points to different modes of processing printed English words. Importantly, these preliminary findings allow us to begin to establish the impact of linguistic and educational factors on the neural systems that underlie reading achievement in profoundly deaf individuals.