Reading and Writing

, Volume 15, Issue 1–2, pp 5–14 | Cite as

Deficits in phoneme awareness do not arise from failures in rapid auditory processing

  • Michael Studdert-KennedyEmail author


Many studies have found that phonologicaldeficits in poor readers are associated withdeficits in speech perception. Two hypotheseshave been proposed concerning the nature of thelatter: a speech-specific and a generalauditory hypothesis. The main topic of thepaper is the general auditory hypothesis andits special form as proposed by Tallal and hercolleagues (1993). Thepaper reviews the evidence for these hypothesesand finds it to be either purely correlationalor flawed by misinterpretation of resultsand/or lack of necessary experimental controls.Moreover, a recent control study, the first ofits kind, found no support for Tallal's specialform of the general auditory hypothesis. Thepaper concludes that deficits in speechperception often observed in impaired readersare phonetic (speech-specific), not auditory,in origin.

Phoneme awareness Non speech controls Rapid auditory processing Slowed speech 


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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Haskins LaboratoriesNew HavenUSA

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