Sequential processing deficits of reading disabled persons is independent of inter-stimulus interval

R. Ram-Tsur, M. Faust, A. Z. Zivotofsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Developmental dyslexia is a language-based learning disability with frequently associated non-linguistic sensory deficits that have been the basis of various perception-based theories. It remains an open question whether the underlying deficit in dyslexia is a low level impairment that causes speech and orthographic perception deficits that in turn impedes higher phonological and reading processes, or a high level impairment that affects both perceptual and reading related skills. We investigated by means of contrast detection thresholds two low-level theories of developmental dyslexia, the magnocellular and the fast temporal processing hypotheses, as well as a more recent suggestion that dyslexics have difficulties in sequential comparison tasks that can be attributed to a higher-order deficit. It was found that dyslexics had significantly higher thresholds only on a sequential, but not a spatial, detection task, and that this impairment was found to be independent of the inter-stimulus interval. We also found that the poor performance of dyslexics on the temporal task was dependent on the size of the required memory trace of the image rather than on the number of images. Our findings do not support the magnocellular theory and challenge the fast temporal deficit hypothesis. We suggest that dyslexics may have a higher order, dual mechanism impairment. We also discuss the clinical implications of our findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3949-3960
Number of pages12
JournalVision Research
Issue number22
StatePublished - Oct 2006


  • Attention
  • Contrast threshold
  • Dyslexia
  • Magnocellular
  • Memory


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