Research on children and adults with developmental dyslexia—a specific difficulty in learning to read and spell—suggests that phonological deficits in dyslexia are linked to basic auditory deficits in temporal sampling. However, it remains undetermined whether such deficits are already present in infancy, especially during the sensitive period when the auditory system specializes in native phoneme perception. Because dyslexia is strongly hereditary, it is possible to examine infants for early predictors of the condition before detectable symptoms emerge. This study examines low-level auditory temporal sampling in infants at risk for dyslexia across the sensitive period of native phoneme learning. Using magnetoencephalography (MEG), we found deficient auditory sampling at theta in at-risk infants at both 6 and 12 months, indicating atypical auditory sampling at the syllabic rate in those infants across the sensitive period for native-language phoneme learning. This interpretation is supported by our additional finding that auditory sampling at theta predicted later vocabulary comprehension, nonlinguistic communication and the ability to combine words. Our results indicate a possible early marker of risk for dyslexia.
Tagged as: auditory processing, infants, MEG, phonemic awareness, and theta waves
Mittag, Maria, Eric Larson, Samu Taulu, Maggie Clarke, and Patricia K. Kuhl. 2022. “Reduced Theta Sampling in Infants at Risk for Dyslexia across the Sensitive Period of Native Phoneme Learning” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 3: 1180. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031180