Reading and Writing

, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 453–473 | Cite as

Learning novel phonological representations in developmental dyslexia: associations with basic auditory processing of rise time and phonological awareness



Across languages, children with developmental dyslexia are known to have impaired lexical phonological representations. Here, we explore associations between learning new phonological representations, phonological awareness, and sensitivity to amplitude envelope onsets (rise time). We show that individual differences in learning novel phonological representations are related to individual differences in both rise time categorization and rise time discrimination when non-verbal IQ and short-term memory skills are controlled. This is consistent with the developmental claim that difficulties in the basic auditory processing of rise time cause difficulties in setting up the phonological lexicon from infancy, leading to impairments in phonological awareness.


Amplitude envelope Developmental dyslexia Neighborhood density Phonological representation Rise time 


  1. Ahissar, M. (2007). Dyslexia and the anchoring-deficit hypothesis. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 11(11), 458–465.Google Scholar
  2. Choudhury, N., Leppanen, P. H. T., Leevers, H., & Benasich, A. (2007). Infant information processing and family history of specific language impairment: Converging evidence for RAP deficits from two paradigms. Developmental Science, 10, 213–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Corriveau, K., Pasquini, E., & Goswami, U. (2007). Basic auditory processing skills and specific language impairment: A new look at an old hypothesis. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 50, 647–666.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. De Cara, B., & Goswami, U. (2002). Similarity relations among spoken words: The special status of rimes in English. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments & Computers, 34, 416–423.Google Scholar
  5. De Cara, B., & Goswami, U. (2003). Phonological neighbourhood density: Effects in a rhyme awareness task in five-year-old children. Journal of Child Language, 30, 695–710.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ehri, L. C., & Wilce, L. S. (1980). The influence of orthography on readers’ conceptualization of the phonemic structure of words. Applied Psycholinguistics, 1, 371–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Elbro, C. (1996). Early linguistic abilities and reading development: A review and hypothesis. Reading and Writing, 8, 453–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Elliott, C. D., Smith, P., & McCulloch, K. (1996). The British ability scales II. Windsor, UK: NFER-Nelson.Google Scholar
  9. Findlay, J. M. (1978). Estimates on probability functions: A more virulent PEST. Perception and Psychophysics, 23, 181–185.Google Scholar
  10. Finney, D. J. (1971). Probit analysis (3rd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Gathercole, S. E. (2006). Nonword repetition and word learning: The nature of the relationship. Applied Psycholinguistics, 27, 513–543.Google Scholar
  12. Goswami, U., Thomson, J., Richardson, U., Stainthorp, R., Hughes, D., Rosen, S., et al. (2002). Amplitude envelope onsets and developmental dyslexia: A new hypothesis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 99, 10911–10916.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gottardo, A., Stanovich, K., & Siegel, L. (1996). The relationships between phonological sensitivity, syntactic processing, and verbal working memory in the reading performance of third-grade children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 63(3), 563–582.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Greenberg, S. (2006). A multi-tier framework for understanding spoken language. In S. Greenberg & W. Ainsworth (Eds.), Listening to speech—an auditory perspective (pp. 411–433). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  15. Guttorm, T. K., Leppänen, P. H., Poikkeus, A. M., Eklund, K. M., Lyytinen, P., & Lyytinen, H. (2005). Brain event-related potentials (ERPs) measured at birth predict later language development in children with and without familial risk for dyslexia. Cortex, 41, 291–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Guttorm, T. K., Leppänen, P. H., Richardson, U., & Lyytinen, H. (2001). Event-related potentials and consonant differentiation in newborns with familial risk for dyslexia. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 34, 534–544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Guttorm, T. K., Leppänen, P. H., Tolvanen, A., & Lyytinen, H. (2003). Event-related potentials in newborns with and without familial risk for dyslexia: Principal component analysis reveals differences between the groups. Journal of Neural Transmission, 110, 1059–1074.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hall, J. W., & Grose, J. H. (1994). Development of temporal resolution in children as measured by the temporal modulation transfer function. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 96, 150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hämäläinen, J., Leppänen, P. H. T., Torppa, M., Muller, K., & Lyytinen, H. (2005). Detection of sound rise time by adults with dyslexia. Brain & Language, 94, 32–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hämäläinen, J., Salminen, H. K., & Leppänen, P. H. T. (in press). Basic auditory processing deficits in dyslexia: Review of the behavioral, event-related potential and magnetoencephalographic evidence. Journal of Learning Disabilities.Google Scholar
  21. Joanisse, M. F., Manis, F., Keating, P., & Seidenberg, M. (2000). Language deficits in dyslexic children: Speech perception, phonology, and morphology. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 77, 30–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Katz, R. (1986). Phonological deficiencies in children with reading disability: Evidence from an object-naming task. Cognition, 22, 225–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Leppänen, P. H. T., Kaaranen, M., Guttorm, T., Puolakanaho, A., Poikkeus, A. M., Eklund, K., Lyytinen, P., & Lyytinen, H. (2004). Infant brain event-related potentials to temporal speech cues are associated with later language skills in children with and without risk for familial dyslexia. Paper presented at the sixth British Dyslexia Association (BDA) International Conference, Warwick, UK.Google Scholar
  24. Levitt, H. (1971). Transformed up-down methods in psychoacoustics. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 49, 467–477.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lorenzi, C., Dumont, A., & Fullgrabe, C. (2000). Use of temporal envelope cues by children with developmental dyslexia. Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research, 43, 1367–1379.Google Scholar
  26. Lyytinen, H., Aro, M., Eklund, K., Erskine, J., Guttorm, T., Laakso, M. L., et al. (2004). The development of children at familial risk for dyslexia: Birth to early school age. Annals of Dyslexia, 54, 184–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Muneaux, M., Ziegler, J., Truc, C., Thomson, J., & Goswami, U. (2004). Deficits in beat perception and dyslexia: Evidence from French. Neuroreport, 15, 1255–1259.Google Scholar
  28. Pasquini, E., Corriveau, K., & Goswami, U. (2007). Auditory processing of amplitude envelope rise time in adults diagnosed with developmental dyslexia. Scientific Studies of Reading, 11, 259–286.Google Scholar
  29. Richardson, U., Thomson, J., Scott, S., & Goswami, U. (2004). Auditory processing skills and phonological representation in dyslexic children. Dyslexia, 10, 215–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rocheron, I., Lorenzi, C., Fullgrabe, C., & Dumont, A. (2002). Temporal envelope perception in dyslexic children. Neuroreport, 13, 1–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Scott, S. K. (1993). P-centres in speech—an acoustic analysis. Unpublished doctoral thesis, University of London.Google Scholar
  32. Seibold, D. (1979). Commonality analysis: A method for decomposing explained variance in multiple regression analyses. Human Communication Research, 5, 355–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Shankweiler, D., Crain, S., Brady, S., & Macaruso, P. (1992). Identifying the causes of reading disability. In P. Gough, L. Ehri, & R. Treiman (Eds.), Reading acquisition (pp. 275–305). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  34. Smith, Z., Delgutte, B., & Oxenham, A. J. (2002). Chimaeric sounds reveal dichotomies in auditory perception. Nature, 416, 87–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Snowling, M. J. (2000). Dyslexia. Oxford, UK: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  36. Snowling, M. J., Stothard, S. E., & McLean, J. (1996). The graded nonword reading test. Reading, UK: Thames Valley Test Company.Google Scholar
  37. Storkel, H. (2004). Do children acquire dense neighborhoods? An investigation of similarity neighborhoods in lexical acquisition. Applied Psycholinguistics, 25, 201–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Swan, D., & Goswami, U. (1997a). Phonological awareness deficits in developmental dyslexia and the Phonological Representations Hypothesis. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 66, 18–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Swan, D., & Goswami, U. (1997b). Picture naming deficits in developmental dyslexia: The Phonological Representations Hypothesis. Brain and Language, 56, 334–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Tabachnik, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2001). Using multivariate statistics (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  41. Thomson, J. M. (2004). Phonological representations in dyslexia: Nature, influences and development. Unpublished doctoral thesis, University of London.Google Scholar
  42. Thomson, J., Fryer, B., Maltby, J., & Goswami, U. (2006). Auditory and motor rhythm awareness in adults with dyslexia. Journal of Research in Reading, 29, 334–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Thomson, J., & Goswami, U. (2008). Rhythmic processing in children with developmental dyslexia: Auditory and motor rhythms link to reading and spelling. Journal of Physiology (Paris), 102, 120–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Thomson, J. M., Richardson, U., & Goswami, U. (2005). Phonological similarity neighborhoods and children’s short-term memory: Typical development and dyslexia. Memory & Cognition, 33, 1210–1219.Google Scholar
  45. van der Broeke, M. P. R., & van Heuven, V. J. (1983). Effect and artifact in auditory discrimination of rise and decay time: Speech and nonspeech. Perception and Psychophysics, 33, 305–313.Google Scholar
  46. Vanderplas, J., & Garvin, E. (1959). The associative value of random shapes. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 57, 147–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Vitevitch, M. S., & Luce, P. A. (1998). When words compete: Levels of processing in spoken word perception. Psychological Science, 9, 325–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Vitevitch, M. S., & Luce, P. A. (1999). Probabilistic phonotactics and spoken word recognition. Journal of Memory and Language, 40, 374–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wechsler, D. (1992). Wechsler intelligence scales for children (3rd ed., UK ed.). Kent, UK: The Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
  50. Windfuhr, K., & Snowling, M. (2001). The relationship between paired associate learning and phonological skill in normally-developing readers. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 80, 160–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Ziegler, J. (2008). Better to lose the anchor than the whole ship. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 12, 244–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Ziegler, J. C., Ferrand, L., & Montant, M. (2004). Visual phonology: The effects of orthographic consistency on different auditory word recognition tasks. Memory & Cognition, 32, 732–741.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Harvard Graduate School of EducationCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.University of CambridgeCambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations