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Visual search deficits are independent of magnocellular deficits in dyslexia

Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate the theory that visual magnocellular deficits seen in groups with dyslexia are linked to reading via the mechanisms of visual attention. Visual attention was measured with a serial search task and magnocellular function with a coherent motion task. A large group of children with dyslexia (n = 70) had slower serial search times than a control group of typical readers. However, the effect size was small (η 2p  = 0.05) indicating considerable overlap between the groups. When the dyslexia sample was split into those with or without a magnocellular deficit, there was no difference in visual search reaction time between either group and controls. The data suggest that magnocellular sensitivity and visual spatial attention weaknesses are independent of one another. They also provide more evidence of heterogeneity in response to psychophysical tasks in groups with dyslexia. Alternative explanations for poor performance on visual attention tasks are proposed along with avenues for future research.

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Wright, C.M., Conlon, E.G. & Dyck, M. Visual search deficits are independent of magnocellular deficits in dyslexia. Ann. of Dyslexia 62, 53–69 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11881-011-0061-1

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Keywords

  • Dyslexia
  • Visual attention
  • Visual search