Early stages of sensory processing, but not semantic integration, are altered in dyslexic adults

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Frontiers in Psychology
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Silva P.B.
Ueki K.
Oliveira D.G.
Boggio P.S.
Macedo E.C.
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© 2016 Silva, Ueki, Oliveira, Boggio and Macedo.The aim of this study was to verify which stages of language processing are impaired in individuals with dyslexia. For this, a visual-auditory crossmodal task with semantic judgment was used. The P100 potentials were chosen, related to visual processing and initial integration, and N400 potentials related to semantic processing. Based on visual-auditory crossmodal studies, it is understood that dyslexic individuals present impairments in the integration of these two types of tasks and impairments in processing spoken and musical auditory information. The present study sought to investigate and compare the performance of 32 adult participants (14 individuals with dyslexia), in semantic processing tasks in two situations with auditory stimuli: sentences and music, with integrated visual stimuli (pictures). From the analysis of the accuracy, both the sentence and the music blocks showed significant effects on the congruency variable, with both groups having higher scores for the incongruent items than for the congruent ones. Furthermore, there was also a group effect when the priming was music, with the dyslexic group showing an inferior performance to the control group, demonstrating greater impairments in processing when the priming was music. Regarding the reaction time variable, a group effect in music and sentence priming was found, with the dyslexic group being slower than the control group. The N400 and P100 components were analyzed. In items with judgment and music priming, a group effect was observed for the amplitude of the P100, with higher means produced by individuals with dyslexia, corroborating the literature that individuals with dyslexia have difficulties in early information processing. A congruency effect was observed in the items with music priming, with greater P100 amplitudes found in incongruous situations. Analyses of the N400 component showed the congruency effect for amplitude in both types of priming, with the mean amplitude for incongruent items being greater than that of the congruent items. Electrophysiological findings were corroborated by the N400 literature and showed that the semantic processing of individuals with dyslexia was preserved. Furthermore, the findings indicate P100 visual sensory processing deficits in the dyslexic group and may suggest difficulty in the sensory stimuli process.
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