Developmental dyslexia is defined by reading impairments that are disproportionate to intelligence, motivation, and the educational opportunities considered necessary for reading. Its cause has traditionally been considered to be a phonological deficit, where people have difficulties with differentiating the sounds of spoken language. However, reading is a multidimensional skill and relies on various cognitive abilities. These may include high-level vision—the processes that support visual recognition despite innumerable image variations, such as in viewpoint, position, or size. According to our high-level visual dysfunction hypothesis, reading problems of some people with dyslexia can be a salient manifestation of a more general deficit of high-level vision. This paper provides a perspective on how such non-phonological impairments could, in some cases, cause dyslexia. To argue in favor of this hypothesis, we will discuss work on functional neuroimaging, structural imaging, electrophysiology, and behavior that provides evidence for a link between high-level visual impairment and dyslexia.
Sigurdardottir, Heida M., Inga M. Ólafsdóttir, and Hélène Devillez. 2021. “Words as Visual Objects: Neural and Behavioral Evidence for High-Level Visual Impairments in Dyslexia” Brain Sciences 11, no. 11: 1427. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11111427