Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Hum. Neurosci., 22 May 2014 | doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00331

Spatial and temporal attention in developmental dyslexia

Milena Ruffino1*, Simone Gori1,2, Daniela Boccardi2, Massimo Molteni1 and Andrea Facoetti1,2
  • 1Child Psychopathology Unit, Scientific Institute, IRCCS Eugenio Medea, Lecco, Italy
  • 2Developmental and Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, Department of General Psychology, University of Padua, Padua, Italy

Although the dominant view posits that developmental dyslexia (DD) arises from a deficit in phonological processing, emerging evidence suggest that DD could result from a more basic cross-modal letter-to-speech sound integration deficit. Letters have to be precisely selected from irrelevant and cluttering letters by rapid orienting of visual attention before the correct letter-to-speech sound integration applies. In the present study the time-course of spatial attention was investigated measuring target detection reaction times (RTs) in a cuing paradigm, while temporal attention was investigated by assessing impaired identification of the first of two sequentially presented masked visual objects. Spatial and temporal attention were slower in dyslexic children with a deficit in pseudoword reading (N = 14) compared to chronological age (N = 43) and to dyslexics without a deficit in pseudoword reading (N = 18), suggesting a direct link between visual attention efficiency and phonological decoding skills. Individual differences in these visual attention mechanisms were specifically related to pseudoword reading accuracy in dyslexics. The role of spatial and temporal attention in the graphemic parsing process might be related to a basic oscillatory “temporal sampling” dysfunction.

Keywords: spatial attention, temporal attention, temporal sampling, phonological decoding, reading disorder

Citation: Ruffino M, Gori S, Boccardi D, Molteni M and Facoetti A (2014) Spatial and temporal attention in developmental dyslexia. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 8:331. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00331

Received: 30 June 2013; Accepted: 02 May 2014;
Published online: 22 May 2014.

Edited by:

Alan James Power, University of Cambridge, UK

Reviewed by:

Nicholas Allan Badcock, Macquarie University, Australia
Manon Wyn Jones, Bangor University, UK

Copyright © 2014 Ruffino, Gori, Boccardi, Molteni and Facoetti. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Milena Ruffino, Child Psychopathology Unit, Scientific Institute, IRCCS Eugenio Medea, Via Don Luigi Monza, 20, Bosisio Parini, Lecco 23842, Italy e-mail: milena.ruffino@bp.lnf.it

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