Authors: Willy Serniclaes, Miguel López-Zamora, Soraya Bordoy, Juan L. Luque.
Publication: Brain and Behavior (Wiley). 00:e02194 2021 | DOI: 10.1002/brb3.2194
- Spanish children with dyslexia exhibit a general deficit in the perception of the voicing feature on three different VOT continua (ba/pa, de/te, and di/ti).
- These children also exhibit a higher sensitivity in the discrimination of allophonic features, but only for the stimulus continuum that was based on a nonlexical contrast (ba/pa).
- Fitting a neural network model to the data suggests that allophonic perception is due to a deficit in “subharmonic coupling” between high-frequency networks.
Previous studies have evidenced a different mode of speech perception in dyslexia, characterized by the use of allophonic rather than phonemic units. People with dyslexia perceive phonemic features (such as voicing) less accurately than typical readers, but they perceive allophonic features (i.e., language-independent differences between speech sounds) more accurately.
In this study, we investigated the perception of voicing contrasts in a sample of 204 Spanish children with or without dyslexia. Identification and discrimination data were collected for synthetic sounds varying along three different voice onset time (VOT) continua (ba/pa, de/te, and di/ti). Empirical data will be contrasted with a mathematical model of allophonic perception building up from neural oscillations and auditory temporal processing.
Children with dyslexia exhibited a general deficit in categorical precision; that is, they discriminated among phonemically contrastive pairs (around 0-ms VOT) less accurately than did chronological age controls, irrespective of the stimulus continuum. Children with dyslexia also exhibited a higher sensitivity in the discrimination of allophonic features (around ±30-ms VOT), but only for the stimulus continuum that was based on a nonlexical contrast (ba/pa).
Fitting the neural network model to the data collected for this continuum suggests that allophonic perception is due to a deficit in “subharmonic coupling” between high-frequency oscillations. Relationships with “temporal sampling framework” theory are discussed.
Serniclaes, W, López-Zamora, M, Bordoy, S, Luque, JL. Allophonic perception of VOT contrasts in Spanish children with dyslexia. Brain Behav. 2021; 00:e02194. https://doi.org/10.1002/brb3.2194