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Kemeny, Ferenc; Banfi, Chiara; Gangl, Melanie; Perchtold, Corinna M.; Papousek, Ilona; Moll, Kristina; Landerl, Karin (2018): Print-, sublexical and lexical processing in children with reading and/or spelling deficits: An ERP study. In: International Journal of Psychophysiology, Vol. 130: pp. 53-62
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Abstract

Findings on the neurophysiological correlates of developmental dyslexia are mixed, due to the differential conceptualization of the impairment. Studies differ on whether participants with developmental dyslexia are recruited based on reading skills only or reading as well as spelling skills. The current study contrasts the contribution of impaired reading and spelling to ERP correlates of print sensitivity, lexico-semantic access and sensitivity to orthographic regularities. Four groups of children were recruited: isolated reading deficit, isolated spelling deficit, combined reading and spelling deficit, and typically developing. Their neural correlates (EEG) of word, pseudohomophone, and pseudoword reading, as well as false font processing were compared. 1) All groups showed higher N1 amplitudes to letters than to false fonts. 2) Good spellers exhibited more negative N400 amplitudes for meaningless (pseudowords) than for meaningful stimuli (words and pseudohomophones). This effect was not observed in poor spellers. 3) Good readers showed sensitivity to orthographic regularities in a later time window (700-900 ms), whereas this was not the case for poor readers. 1) Print sensitivity is not affected by reading and/or spelling deficit in German-speaking 3rd graders. 2) Spelling deficits are associated with a reduced orthographic lexicon, 3) Reading deficits are associated with atypical use of sublexical information. As this effect was observed after lexico-semantic access, the results are discussed in terms of a possible orthographic reanalysis hypothesis.