Cortical tracking of speech in noise accounts for reading strategies in children.
ABSTRACT: Humans' propensity to acquire literacy relates to several factors, including the ability to understand speech in noise (SiN). Still, the nature of the relation between reading and SiN perception abilities remains poorly understood. Here, we dissect the interplay between (1) reading abilities, (2) classical behavioral predictors of reading (phonological awareness, phonological memory, and rapid automatized naming), and (3) electrophysiological markers of SiN perception in 99 elementary school children (26 with dyslexia). We demonstrate that, in typical readers, cortical representation of the phrasal content of SiN relates to the degree of development of the lexical (but not sublexical) reading strategy. In contrast, classical behavioral predictors of reading abilities and the ability to benefit from visual speech to represent the syllabic content of SiN account for global reading performance (i.e., speed and accuracy of lexical and sublexical reading). In individuals with dyslexia, we found preserved integration of visual speech information to optimize processing of syntactic information but not to sustain acoustic/phonemic processing. Finally, within children with dyslexia, measures of cortical representation of the phrasal content of SiN were negatively related to reading speed and positively related to the compromise between reading precision and reading speed, potentially owing to compensatory attentional mechanisms. These results clarify the nature of the relation between SiN perception and reading abilities in typical child readers and children with dyslexia and identify novel electrophysiological markers of emergent literacy.
Project description:Recent studies have suggested that musical rhythm perception ability can affect the phonological system. The most prevalent causal account for developmental dyslexia is the phonological deficit hypothesis. As rhythm is a subpart of phonology, we hypothesized that reading deficits in dyslexia are associated with rhythm processing in speech and in music. In a rhythmic grouping task, adults with diagnosed dyslexia and age-matched controls listened to speech streams with syllables alternating in intensity, duration, or neither, and indicated whether they perceived a strong-weak or weak-strong rhythm pattern. Additionally, their reading and musical rhythm abilities were measured. Results showed that adults with dyslexia had lower musical rhythm abilities than adults without dyslexia. Moreover, lower musical rhythm ability was associated with lower reading ability in dyslexia. However, speech grouping by adults with dyslexia was not impaired when musical rhythm perception ability was controlled: like adults without dyslexia, they showed consistent preferences. However, rhythmic grouping was predicted by musical rhythm perception ability, irrespective of dyslexia. The results suggest associations among musical rhythm perception ability, speech rhythm perception, and reading ability. This highlights the importance of considering individual variability to better understand dyslexia and raises the possibility that musical rhythm perception ability is a key to phonological and reading acquisition.
Project description:Developmental dyslexia is a very common learning disorder causing an impairment in reading ability. Although the core deficit underlying dyslexia is still under debate, significant agreement is reached in the literature that dyslexia is related to a specific deficit in the phonological representation of speech sounds. Many studies also reported an association between reading skills and music. These findings suggest that interventions aimed at enhancing basic auditory skills of children with DD may impact reading abilities. However, music education alone failed to produce improvements in reading skills comparable to those resulting from traditional intervention methods for DD. Therefore, a computer-assisted intervention method, called Rhythmic Reading Training (RRT), which combines sublexical reading exercises with rhythm processing, was implemented. The purpose of the present study was to compare the effectiveness of RRT and that of an intervention resulting from the combination of two yet validated treatments for dyslexia, namely, Bakker's Visual Hemisphere-Specific Stimulation (VHSS) and the Action Video Game Training (AVG). Both interventions, administered for 13 h over 9 days, significantly improved reading speed and accuracy of a group of Italian students with dyslexia aged 8-14. However, each intervention program produced improvements that were more evident in specific reading parameters: RRT was more effective for improvement of pseudoword reading speed, whereas VHSS + AVG was more effective in increasing general reading accuracy. Such different effects were found to be associated with different cognitive mechanisms, namely, phonological awareness for RRT and rapid automatized naming for VHSS + AVG, thus explaining the specific contribution of each training approach. Clinical Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02791841.
Project description:There is some evidence for a role of music training in boosting phonological awareness, word segmentation, working memory, as well as reading abilities in children with typical development. Poor performance in tasks requiring temporal processing, rhythm perception and sensorimotor synchronization seems to be a crucial factor underlying dyslexia in children. Interestingly, children with dyslexia show deficits in temporal processing, both in language and in music. Within this framework, we test the hypothesis that music training, by improving temporal processing and rhythm abilities, improves phonological awareness and reading skills in children with dyslexia. The study is a prospective, multicenter, open randomized controlled trial, consisting of test, rehabilitation and re-test (ID NCT02316873). After rehabilitation, the music group (N = 24) performed better than the control group (N = 22) in tasks assessing rhythmic abilities, phonological awareness and reading skills. This is the first randomized control trial testing the effect of music training in enhancing phonological and reading abilities in children with dyslexia. The findings show that music training can modify reading and phonological abilities even when these skills are severely impaired. Through the enhancement of temporal processing and rhythmic skills, music might become an important tool in both remediation and early intervention programs.Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02316873
Project description:In the present study, we investigated brain morphological signatures of dyslexia by using a voxel-based asymmetry analysis. Dyslexia is a developmental disorder that affects the acquisition of reading and spelling abilities and is associated with a phonological deficit. Speech perception disabilities have been associated with this deficit, particularly when listening conditions are challenging, such as in noisy environments. These deficits are associated with known neurophysiological correlates, such as a reduction in the functional activation or a modification of functional asymmetry in the cortical regions involved in speech processing, such as the bilateral superior temporal areas. These functional deficits have been associated with macroscopic morphological abnormalities, which potentially include a reduction in gray and white matter volumes, combined with modifications of the leftward asymmetry along the perisylvian areas. The purpose of this study was to investigate gray/white matter distribution asymmetries in dyslexic adults using automated image processing derived from the voxel-based morphometry technique. Correlations with speech-in-noise perception abilities were also investigated. The results confirmed the presence of gray matter distribution abnormalities in the superior temporal gyrus (STG) and the superior temporal Sulcus (STS) in individuals with dyslexia. Specifically, the gray matter of adults with dyslexia was symmetrically distributed over one particular region of the STS, the temporal voice area, whereas normal readers showed a clear rightward gray matter asymmetry in this area. We also identified a region in the left posterior STG in which the white matter distribution asymmetry was correlated to speech-in-noise comprehension abilities in dyslexic adults. These results provide further information concerning the morphological alterations observed in dyslexia, revealing the presence of both gray and white matter distribution anomalies and the potential involvement of these defects in speech-in-noise deficits.
Project description:Lexical retrieval and reading aloud are often viewed as two separate processes. However, they are not completely separate-they share components. This study assessed the effect of an impairment in a shared component, the phonological output lexicon, on lexical retrieval and on reading aloud. Because the phonological output lexicon is part of the lexical route for reading, individuals with an impairment in this lexicon may be forced to read aloud via the sublexical route and therefore show a reading pattern that is typical of surface dyslexia. To examine the effect of phonological output lexicon deficit on reading, we tested the reading of 16 Hebrew-speaking individuals with phonological output lexicon anomia, eight with acquired anomia following brain damage and eight with developmental anomia. We established that they had a phonological output lexicon deficit according to the types of errors and the effects on their naming in a picture naming task, and excluded other deficit loci in the lexical retrieval process according to a line of tests assessing their picture and word comprehension, word and non-word repetition, and phonological working memory. After we have established that the participants have a phonological output lexicon deficit, we tested their reading. To assess their reading and type of reading impairment, we tested their reading aloud, lexical decision, and written word comprehension. We found that all of the participants with phonological output lexicon impairment showed, in addition to anomia, also the typical surface dyslexia errors in reading aloud of irregular words, words with ambiguous conversion to phonemes, and potentiophones (words like "now" that, when read via the sublexical route, can be sounded out as another word, "know"). Importantly, the participants performed normally on pseudohomophone lexical decision and on homophone/potentiophone reading comprehension, indicating spared orthographic input lexicon and spared access to it and from it to lexical semantics. This pattern was shown both by the adults with acquired anomia and by the participants with developmental anomia. These results thus suggest a principled relation between anomia and dyslexia, and point to a distinct type of surface dyslexia. They further show the possibility of good comprehension of written words when the phonological output stages are impaired.
Project description:Dyslexia is characterized by difficulties in learning to read and there is some evidence that action video games (AVG), without any direct phonological or orthographic stimulation, improve reading efficiency in Italian children with dyslexia. However, the cognitive mechanism underlying this improvement and the extent to which the benefits of AVG training would generalize to deep English orthography, remain two critical questions. During reading acquisition, children have to integrate written letters with speech sounds, rapidly shifting their attention from visual to auditory modality. In our study, we tested reading skills and phonological working memory, visuo-spatial attention, auditory, visual and audio-visual stimuli localization, and cross-sensory attentional shifting in two matched groups of English-speaking children with dyslexia before and after they played AVG or non-action video games. The speed of words recognition and phonological decoding increased after playing AVG, but not non-action video games. Furthermore, focused visuo-spatial attention and visual-to-auditory attentional shifting also improved only after AVG training. This unconventional reading remediation program also increased phonological short-term memory and phoneme blending skills. Our report shows that an enhancement of visuo-spatial attention and phonological working memory, and an acceleration of visual-to-auditory attentional shifting can directly translate into better reading in English-speaking children with dyslexia.
Project description:We report on developmental vowel dyslexia, a type of dyslexia that selectively affects the reading aloud of vowel letters. We identified this dyslexia in 55 Turkish-readers aged 9-10, and made an in-depth multiple-case analysis of the reading of 17 participants whose vowel dyslexia was relatively selective. These participants made significantly more vowel errors (vowel substitution, omission, migration, and addition) than age-matched controls, and significantly more errors in vowel letters than in consonants. Vowel harmony, a pivotal property of Turkish phonology, was intact and the majority of their vowel errors yielded harmonic responses. The transparent character of Turkish orthography indicates that vowel dyslexia is not related to ambiguity in vowel conversion. The dyslexia did not result from a deficit in the phonological-output stage, as the participants did not make vowel errors in nonword repetition or in repeating words they had read with a vowel error. The locus of the deficit was not in the orthographic-visual-analyzer either, as their same-different decision on words differing in vowels was intact, and so was their written-word comprehension. They made significantly more errors on nonwords than on words, indicating that their deficit was in vowel processing in the sublexical route. Given that their single-vowels conversion was intact, and that they showed an effect of the number of vowels, we conclude that their deficit is in a vowel-specific buffer in the sublexical route. They did not make vowel errors within suffixes, indicating that suffixes are converted as wholes in a separate sublexical sub-route. These results have theoretical implications for the dual-route model: they indicate that the sublexical route converts vowels and consonants separately, that the sublexical route includes a vowel buffer, and a separate morphological conversion route. The results also indicate that types of dyslexia can be detected in transparent languages given detailed error-analysis and dyslexia-relevant stimuli.
Project description:Dyslexia is a neurodevelopmental disorder with an atypical activation of posterior left-hemisphere brain reading networks (i.e., temporo-occipital and temporo-parietal regions) and multiple neuropsychological deficits. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a tool for manipulating neural activity and, in turn, neurocognitive processes. While studies have demonstrated the significant effects of tDCS on reading, neurocognitive changes beyond reading modulation have been poorly investigated. The present study aimed at examining whether tDCS on temporo-parietal regions affected not only reading, but also phonological skills, visuo-spatial working memory, visuo-spatial attention, and motion perception in a polarity-dependent way. In a within-subjects design, ten children and adolescents with dyslexia performed reading and neuropsychological tasks after 20 min of exposure to Left Anodal/Right Cathodal (LA/RC) and Right Anodal/Left Cathodal (RA/LC) tDCS. LA/RC tDCS compared to RA/LC tDCS improved text accuracy, word recognition speed, motion perception, and modified attentional focusing in our group of children and adolescents with dyslexia. Changes in text reading accuracy and word recognition speed-after LA/RC tDCS compared to RA/LC-were related to changes in motion perception and in visuo-spatial working memory, respectively. Our findings demonstrated that reading and domain-general neurocognitive functions in a group of children and adolescents with dyslexia change following tDCS and that they are polarity-dependent.
Project description:This study focuses on the role of numerous cognitive skills such as phonological awareness (PA), rapid automatized naming (RAN), visual and selective attention, auditory skills, and implicit learning in developmental dyslexia. We examined the (co)existence of cognitive deficits in dyslexia and assessed cognitive skills' predictive value for reading. First, we compared school-aged children with severe reading impairment (n = 51) to typical readers (n = 71) to explore the individual patterns of deficits in dyslexia. Children with dyslexia, as a group, presented low PA and RAN scores, as well as limited implicit learning skills. However, we found no differences in the other domains. We found a phonological deficit in 51% and a RAN deficit in 26% of children with dyslexia. These deficits coexisted in 14% of the children. Deficits in other cognitive domains were uncommon and most often coexisted with phonological or RAN deficits. Despite having a severe reading impairment, 26% of children with dyslexia did not present any of the tested deficits. Second, in a group of children presenting a wide range of reading abilities (N = 211), we analysed the relationship between cognitive skills and reading level. PA and RAN were independently related to reading abilities. Other skills did not explain any additional variance. The impact of PA and RAN on reading skills differed. While RAN was a consistent predictor of reading, PA predicted reading abilities particularly well in average and good readers with a smaller impact in poorer readers.
Project description:Dyslexia is associated with impaired neural representation of the sound structure of words (phonology). The "phonological deficit" in dyslexia may arise in part from impaired speech rhythm perception, thought to depend on neural oscillatory phase-locking to slow amplitude modulation (AM) patterns in the speech envelope. Speech contains AM patterns at multiple temporal rates, and these different AM rates are associated with phonological units of different grain sizes, e.g., related to stress, syllables or phonemes. Here, we assess the ability of adults with dyslexia to use speech AMs to identify rhythm patterns (RPs). We study 3 important temporal rates: "Stress" (~2 Hz), "Syllable" (~4 Hz) and "Sub-beat" (reduced syllables, ~14 Hz). 21 dyslexics and 21 controls listened to nursery rhyme sentences that had been tone-vocoded using either single AM rates from the speech envelope (Stress only, Syllable only, Sub-beat only) or pairs of AM rates (Stress + Syllable, Syllable + Sub-beat). They were asked to use the acoustic rhythm of the stimulus to identity the original nursery rhyme sentence. The data showed that dyslexics were significantly poorer at detecting rhythm compared to controls when they had to utilize multi-rate temporal information from pairs of AMs (Stress + Syllable or Syllable + Sub-beat). These data suggest that dyslexia is associated with a reduced ability to utilize AMs <20 Hz for rhythm recognition. This perceptual deficit in utilizing AM patterns in speech could be underpinned by less efficient neuronal phase alignment and cross-frequency neuronal oscillatory synchronization in dyslexia. Dyslexics' perceptual difficulties in capturing the full spectro-temporal complexity of speech over multiple timescales could contribute to the development of impaired phonological representations for words, the cognitive hallmark of dyslexia across languages.