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Gabay, Yafit; Najjar, Inaas-Jana and Reinisch, Eva (2019): Another Temporal Processing Deficit in Individuals With Developmental Dyslexia: The Case of Normalization for Speaking Rate. In: Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, Vol. 62, No. 7: pp. 2171-2184

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Purpose: Developmental dyslexia (DD) has mostly been attributed to arise from phonological impairments;however, several theories indicate a temporal processing deficit as the underlying cause of DD. So far, research examined the influence of temporal cues on concurrent speech sound categorization in DD, but effects of temporal information from a context (e.g., speaking rate) on the perception of subsequent sounds (i.e., "rate normalization") have not been considered. This study examined whether individuals with DD are capable of implicitly extracting temporal information embedded in context and use it for phoneme categorization to the same extent as healthy readers. Method: Fifteen individuals diagnosed with DD and 16 healthy readers, all native speakers of Hebrew, listened to context sentences followed by target words. They had to indicate whether the target word sounded more like taam ("taste";a long-vowel response) or tam ("naive";a short-vowel response). Temporal information of the context was manipulated (slow vs. fast speaking rate sentences) as well as the vowel duration of the target in a 5-step continuum. Results: Listeners with DD did use the rate context to inform their decisions but to a significantly lesser extent than healthy listeners. In addition, their categorization of the vowel duration continuum was somewhat less distinct than that of the control group. Conclusions: Individuals with DD are impaired not only in tasks involving direct temporal processing, as shown in previous studies but also in the use of temporal information of a context that impacts the perception of subsequent target words. This inability to fully utilize rate normalization processes may influence the formation of abstract phonological representations in individuals with DD.

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