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Too little or too much? Parafoveal preview benefits and parafoveal load costs in dyslexic adults

Abstract

Two different forms of parafoveal dysfunction have been hypothesized as core deficits of dyslexic individuals: reduced parafoveal preview benefits (“too little parafovea”) and increased costs of parafoveal load (“too much parafovea”). We tested both hypotheses in a single eye-tracking experiment using a modified serial rapid automatized naming (RAN) task. Comparisons between dyslexic and non-dyslexic adults showed reduced parafoveal preview benefits in dyslexics, without increased costs of parafoveal load. Reduced parafoveal preview benefits were observed in a naming task, but not in a silent letter-finding task, indicating that the parafoveal dysfunction may be consequent to the overload with extracting phonological information from orthographic input. Our results suggest that dyslexics’ parafoveal dysfunction is not based on strict visuo-attentional factors, but nevertheless they stress the importance of extra-phonological processing. Furthermore, evidence of reduced parafoveal preview benefits in dyslexia may help understand why serial RAN is an important reading predictor in adulthood.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia under grants PTDC/PSI-PCO/110734/2009, SFRH/BPD/72974/2010, EXPL/MHC-PCN/0299/2013, PEst-OE/EQB/LA0023/2014, UID/BIM/04773/2013 CBMR 1334, and UID/PSI/00050/2013).

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Correspondence to Susana Silva.

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Silva, S., Faísca, L., Araújo, S. et al. Too little or too much? Parafoveal preview benefits and parafoveal load costs in dyslexic adults. Ann. of Dyslexia 66, 187–201 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11881-015-0113-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11881-015-0113-z

Keywords

  • Dyslexia
  • Eye-tracking
  • Parafovea
  • Reading predictors
  • Serial RAN