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The relationship between sensory sensitivity and reading performance was examined to test the hypothesis that the orthographic and phonological skills engaged in visual word recognition are constrained by the ability to detect dynamic visual and auditory events. A test battery using sensory psychophysics, psychometric tests, and measures of component literacy skills was administered to 32 unselected 10-year-old primary school children. The results suggest that children's sensitivity to both dynamic auditory and visual stimuli are related to their literacy skills. Importantly, after controlling for intelligence and overall reading ability, visual motion sensitivity explained independent variance in orthographic skill but not phonological ability, and auditory FM sensitivity covaried with phonological skill but not orthographic skill. These results support the hypothesis that sensitivity at detecting dynamic stimuli influences normal children's reading skills. Vision and audition separately may affect the ability to extract orthographic and phonological information during reading.

Original publication

DOI

10.1073/pnas.040546597

Type

Journal article

Journal

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Publication Date

14/03/2000

Volume

97

Pages

2952 - 2957

Keywords

Acoustic Stimulation, Auditory Pathways, Child, Educational Status, Humans, Phonetics, Photic Stimulation, Psychometrics, Reading, Sensory Thresholds