Electrophysiological signatures of visual temporal processing deficits in developmental dyslexia

Alessia Santoni, David Melcher, Laura Franchin, Luca Ronconi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Developmental dyslexia (DD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that affects reading ability despite normal intelligence and education. In search of core deficits, previous evidence has linked DD with impairments in temporal aspects of perceptual processing, which might underlie phonological deficits as well as inefficient graphemic parsing during reading. However, electrophysiological evidence for atypical temporal processing in DD is still scarce in the visual modality. Here, we investigated the efficiency of both temporal segregation and integration of visual information by means of event-related potentials (ERPs). We confirmed previous evidence of a selective segregation deficit in dyslexia for stimuli presented in rapid succession (<80 ms), despite unaffected integration performance. Importantly, we found a reduced N1 amplitude in DD, a component related to the allocation of attentional resources, which was independent of task demands (i.e., evident in both segregation and integration). In addition, the P3 amplitude, linked to working memory and processing load, was modulated by task demands in controls but not in individuals with DD. These results suggest that atypical attentional sampling in dyslexia might weaken the quality of information stored in visual working memory, leading to behavioral and electrophysiological signatures of atypical temporal segregation. These results are consistent with some existing theories of dyslexia, such as the magnocellular theory and the “Sluggish Attentional Shifting” framework, and represent novel evidence for neural correlates of decreased visual temporal resolution in DD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere14447
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • ERPs
  • methods
  • reading disorders
  • temporal attention
  • temporal integration windows
  • timing and temporal processing
  • vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Physiology (medical)


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