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Dyslexia cause may be different than previously thought

Date:
September 19, 2012
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Public Library of Science
Summary:
Dyslexia may result from impairment of a different linguistic system than previously thought, according to new research.

Dyslexia may result from impairment of a different linguistic system than previously thought, according to research published Sep. 19 in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

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Speech perception engages at least two linguistic systems: the phonetic system, which extracts discrete sound units from acoustic input, and the phonological system, which combines these units to form individual words. Previously, researchers generally believed that dyslexia was caused by phonological impairment, but results from the current study, led by Iris Berent of Northeastern University in Boston, suggest that the phonetic system may actually be the cause.

"Our findings confirm that dyslexia indeed compromises the language system, but the locus of the deficit is in the phonetic, not the phonological system, as had been previously assumed," says Berent.

In the study, Hebrew-speaking college students had difficulty discriminating between similar speech sounds, but had no problem tracking abstract phonological patterns, even for novel words, suggesting that the phonological system is intact but the phonetic system is compromised.

"Our research demonstrates that a closer analysis of the language system can radically alter our understanding of the disorder, and ultimately, its treatment," says Berent.


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The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Iris Berent, Vered Vaknin-Nusbaum, Evan Balaban, Albert M. Galaburda. Dyslexia Impairs Speech Recognition but Can Spare Phonological Competence. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (9): e44875 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044875

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Dyslexia cause may be different than previously thought." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120919190604.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2012, September 19). Dyslexia cause may be different than previously thought. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120919190604.htm
Public Library of Science. "Dyslexia cause may be different than previously thought." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120919190604.htm (accessed March 4, 2015).

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