Delayed detection of tonal targets in background noise in dyslexia

Maria Chait, Guinevere Eden, David Poeppel, Jonathan Z. Simon, Deborah F. Hill, D. Lynn Flowers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Individuals with developmental dyslexia are often impaired in their ability to process certain linguistic and even basic non-linguistic auditory signals. Recent investigations report conflicting findings regarding impaired low-level binaural detection mechanisms associated with dyslexia. Binaural impairment has been hypothesized to stem from a general low-level processing disorder for temporally fine sensory stimuli. Here we use a new behavioral paradigm to address this issue. We compared the response times of dyslexic listeners and their matched controls in a tone-in-noise detection task. The tonal signals were either Huggins Pitch (HP), a stimulus requiring binaural processing to elicit a pitch percept, or a pure tone-perceptually similar but physically very different signals. The results showed no difference between the two groups specific to the processing of HP and thus no evidence for a binaural impairment in dyslexia. However, dyslexic subjects exhibited a general difficulty in extracting tonal objects from background noise, manifested by a globally delayed detection speed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-90
Number of pages11
JournalBrain and Language
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2007


  • Auditory processing
  • Binaural processing
  • Change detection
  • Dichotic Pitch
  • Dyslexia
  • Phonemic awareness
  • Response times
  • Temporal integration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Speech and Hearing
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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