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Abstract

While previous studies have shown that children affected by dyslexia exhibit a deficit in categorical perception of segmental features in alphabetic languages, it remains unclear whether the categorical perception deficit generalizes to nonalphabetic languages at the suprasegmental level. In this study, we investigated the occurrence of categorical perception deficit in Mandarin lexical tones in Chinese children with dyslexia. Both behavioral and electrophysiological measures were taken to compare Chinese dyslexic children with age-matched controls. Auditory event-related potentials were collected with a passive listening oddball paradigm. Behavioral data showed that dyslexic children perceived lexical tone contrasts less categorically and less precisely than age-matched controls. Consistent with the behavioral data, the across-category tone contrast elicited larger mismatch negativity than the within-category distinction in the left hemisphere for the age-matched controls but not for the dyslexic children. The behavioral and electrophysiological results demonstrate impaired categorical perception of lexical tones in Chinese children with dyslexia. Our findings support the hypothesis that children affected by dyslexia have a general deficit in categorical perception of speech, which generalizes to nonalphabetic languages at the suprasegmental level.

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... In the past two decades, there has been a surge of interest in Chinese DD. Studies have focused on three main aspects of Chinese DD: its linguistic profiles (Ho et al. 2004, Shu et al. 2006, Cheung et al. 2009, Li & Ho 2011, Tong et al. 2019, Lin et al. 2020, Cheng et al. 2021; see Peng et al. 2017 for a meta-analysis and McBride-Chang et al. 2018 for a review), neural mechanisms (Siok et al. 2004(Siok et al. , 2009Hu et al. 2010;Chung et al. 2012;Zhang et al. 2012;Cao et al. 2017;Su et al. 2018;Feng et al. 2020;; see Yan et al. 2021 andBi 2022 for meta-analyses), and genetic bases (Su et al. 2015, Waye et al. 2017). Significant strides have been made in understanding the linguistic and neurogenetic deficits underlying Chinese DD and thus the language-universal and language-specific properties of dyslexia across languages. ...
... Significant categorical perception deficits associated with Chinese DD have also been confirmed in previous studies on voicing contrasts of stop consonants (Cheung et al. 2009, LI09CH22_Shu ARjats.cls October 22, 2022 10:35 Liu et al. 2009) and especially on pitch patterns of lexical tones (Cheung et al. 2009, Zhang et al. 2012. Specifically, dyslexic children exhibited shallower identification functions and larger identification inconsistency with stimuli from the same category than did typically developing children. ...
... At the same time, increased activation in the right inferior occipital and middle temporal regions indicates a language-specific compensatory strategy for visual-spatial analysis of Chinese characters (Siok et al. 2004(Siok et al. , 2009Liu et al. 2012;Li & Bi 2022). Phonological deficits are reflected by a lack of amplitude difference in the mismatch negativity (MMN) ERP component between within-category and across-category lexical tonal contrasts (Zhang et al. 2012) and by decreased activation in the left superior temporal and inferior frontal regions during rime judgment , Cao et al. 2017, Li & Bi 2022, indicating a language-universal phonological deficit at the neural level. Morphological deficits are reflected by a smaller incongruency effect in the left dorsal posterior and ventral anterior inferior frontal gyrus during semantic relatedness judgment, indicating a language-specific deficit, namely that the dyslexic children are less sensitive to morphological information (Liu et al. 2013). ...
Article
Chinese developmental dyslexia (DD) research provides important insights into the language-universal and language-specific mechanisms underlying dyslexia. In this article, we review recent advances in Chinese DD. Converging behavioral evidence suggests that, while phonological and rapid automatized naming deficits are language universal, orthographic and morphological deficits are specific to the linguistic properties of Chinese. At the neural level, hypoactivation in the left superior temporal/inferior frontal regions in dyslexic children across Chinese and alphabetic languages may indicate a shared phonological processing deficit, whereas hyperactivation in the right inferior occipital/middle temporal regions and atypical activation in the left frontal areas in Chinese dyslexic children may indicate a language-specific compensatory strategy for impaired visual-spatial analysis and a morphological deficit in Chinese DD, respectively. The findings call for further theoretical endeavors to understand the language-universal and Chinese-specific neurobiological mechanisms underlying dyslexia and to design more effective and efficient intervention programs. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Linguistics, Volume 9 is January 2023. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
... Thus, we hypothesized that the additive model might provide better predictive modeling results for our data. The findings of the present study will add to our understanding of the cognitive model of reading to further delineate the developmental trajectory of reading skills, which can provide the foundation to examine the brain mechanisms underlying the acquisition of normal reading skills in children as well as the disruptive neural correlates accompanying developmental dyslexia [39][40][41][42][43][44]. ...
... The performance score was the number of correctly pronounced characters. This test was widely used in our previous studies of Chinese child reading and demonstrated excellent reliability and validity [40,47,48]. ...
... The performance score was the number of correctly judged items. Excellent reliability and validity were demonstrated in our previous work on children with dyslexia and typically developing children [40,47,51]. ...
Article
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Theories of reading comprehension emphasize decoding and listening comprehension as two essential components. The current study aimed to investigate how Chinese character decoding and context-driven auditory semantic integration contribute to reading comprehension in Chinese middle school students. Seventy-five middle school students were tested. Context-driven auditory semantic integration was assessed with speech-in-noise tests in which the fundamental frequency (F0) contours of spoken sentences were either kept natural or acoustically flattened, with the latter requiring a higher degree of contextual information. Statistical modeling with hierarchical regression was conducted to examine the contributions of Chinese character decoding and context-driven auditory semantic integration to reading comprehension. Performance in Chinese character decoding and auditory semantic integration scores with the flattened (but not natural) F0 sentences significantly predicted reading comprehension. Furthermore, the contributions of these two factors to reading comprehension were better fitted with an additive model instead of a multiplicative model. These findings indicate that reading comprehension in middle schoolers is associated with not only character decoding but also the listening ability to make better use of the sentential context for semantic integration in a severely degraded speech-in-noise condition. The results add to our better understanding of the multi-faceted reading comprehension in children. Future research could further address the age-dependent development and maturation of reading skills by examining and controlling other important cognitive variables, and apply neuroimaging techniques such as functional magmatic resonance imaging and electrophysiology to reveal the neural substrates and neural oscillatory patterns for the contribution of auditory semantic integration and the observed additive model to reading comprehension.
... Although lexical tone is a suprasegmental feature, it behaves like segmental features similar to consonants and vowels (Schirmer, Tang, Penney, Gunter, & Chen, 2005). Thus, perception of lexical tone or "lexical tone awareness" may be associated with reading and poorer in Chinese children with dyslexia (e.g., Cheung et al., 2009;Li & Ho, 2011;Shu, Peng, & McBride-Chang, 2008;Zhang et al., 2012). Indeed, Chan and Siegel (2001) reported that Cantonese subjects who had poor reading scores also performed poorly in tone perception. ...
... Similarly, Siok and Fletcher (2001) discovered a significant correlation between tone awareness and character recognition. Zhang et al. (2012) found that Chinese children with DD had deficits on categorical perception of lexical tone. These findings suggest that lexical tone perception plays an important role in reading development in Chinese language. ...
... Much of the previous work investigating speech perception in DD has used tasks that require categorizing speech sounds (Blomert, Mitterer, & Paffen, 2004;Cheung et al., 2009;Mody, Studdert-Kennedy, & Brady, 1997;Serniclaes, Sprenger-Charolles, Carré, & Demonet, 2001;Werker & Tees, 1987;Zhang et al., 2012); however, because explicit categorization tasks require attention and motivation, the use of passive electrophysiological designs to measure speech perception in young children is gaining popularity. A number of studies have examined auditory ERPs to speech in longitudinal studies of reading outcome (Espy et al., 2004;Hämäläinen et al., 2013;Maurer et al., 2009). ...
Article
We investigated whether preschoolers with poor phonological awareness (PA) skills had impaired cortical basis for detecting speech feature, and whether speech perception influences future literacy outcomes in preschoolers. We recorded ERP responses to speech in 52 Chinese preschoolers. The results showed that the poor PA group processed speech changes differentially compared to control group in mismatch negativity (MMN) and late discriminative negativity (LDN). Furthermore, speech perception in kindergarten could predict literacy outcomes after literacy acquisition. These suggest that impairment in detecting speech features occurs before formal reading instruction, and that speech perception plays an important role in reading development.
... For example, the syllables /ba/ and /da/ can be perceived as two distinct syllables because the initial consonants are categorized into different phonemes. Speech perception deficits have been increasingly observed in children with impaired language and reading abilities (Robertson et al., 2009;Chen and Liu, 2010;Zhang et al., 2012). Numerous studies have employed speech discrimination tasks involving pairs of syllables that differ by only a single phonemic feature. ...
... Although very few studies have focused on speech perception deficits in Mandarinspeaking children with language or reading impairment, one study showed that these children performed less accurately when required to discriminate stop aspirated vs. unaspirated contrast (/ta/-/t h a/) and lexical tone pairs (Chen and Liu, 2010). In addition, other studies have documented lexical tone perception deficits in Mandarin-speaking children with dyslexia (Zhang et al., 2012) and in Cantonese-speaking children with language impairment (Wong et al., 2009). These results suggest that speech perception deficits in tonal-language children with language impairment are not only observed at phonetic segment levels (i.e., consonants) but also at the suprasegmental level (i.e., lexical tones). ...
... These results provide evidence that children with poor text reading comprehension exhibit lower abilities to distinguish phonetic contrasts and less categorized perception for speech sounds. Previous studies have provided evidence of speech perception deficits in some children with oral language or word reading deficiencies (Robertson et al., 2009;Chen and Liu, 2010;Zhang et al., 2012). The results of the present study further support that deficits in fundamental speech perception may influence oral language processing and text reading. ...
Article
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Previous studies have shown that children learning alphabetic writing systems who have language impairment or dyslexia exhibit speech perception deficits. However, whether such deficits exist in children learning logographic writing systems who have poor reading comprehension remains uncertain. To further explore this issue, the present study examined speech perception deficits in Mandarin-speaking children with poor reading comprehension. Two self-designed tasks, consonant categorical perception task and lexical tone discrimination task were used to compare speech perception performance in children (n = 31, age range = 7;4–10;2) with poor reading comprehension and an age-matched typically developing group (n = 31, age range = 7;7–9;10). Results showed that the children with poor reading comprehension were less accurate in consonant and lexical tone discrimination tasks and perceived speech contrasts less categorically than the matched group. The correlations between speech perception skills (i.e., consonant and lexical tone discrimination sensitivities and slope of consonant identification curve) and individuals’ oral language and reading comprehension were stronger than the correlations between speech perception ability and word recognition ability. In conclusion, the results revealed that Mandarin-speaking children with poor reading comprehension exhibit less-categorized speech perception, suggesting that imprecise speech perception, especially lexical tone perception, is essential to account for reading learning difficulties in Mandarin-speaking children.
... Three articles were written in Brazil (4,12,19) , 3 in the Netherlands (20,23,25) , 3 in the United States (31,32,34) and 3 in France (26,29,30) . Studies have also been found in China (24,27) , Germany (33) , Canada (22) and Israel (37) . There was great variation in the size of the sample, from surveys with only 12 subjects (12) to surveys that included 110 individuals (38) . ...
... Regarding the parameters used to perform the MMN, most of the research used the speech stimulus (4,(20)(21)(22)(23)(24)(25)(26)30,(32)(33)(34)(35)(36) and other studies opted to perform the MMN with tone burst stimulus (12,19,22,(27)(28)(29)31,(37)(38)(39) . Regarding the tone burst stimulus, it was verified that some studies evaluated with frequency variation (12,(27)(28)(29)31,(37)(38)(39) and 1, by duration and frequency (19) . ...
... Only one article (30) evaluated children without auditory complaints and without communication disorders, neurological or genetic alterations. The other articles included in this study investigated MMN responses in specific samples in the child population: children with reading and writing impairment (12) , attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (19) , language specific disorder (ADL) (4.32) , auditory processing disorders (4.22) , dyslexia, or presenting a risk factor for that (20,(23)(24)(25)(26)28,33), repetitive otitis media (21), autism (29,34) , stuttering (31) , depressed children (35) , premature and low weight children (28,36) , children with cleft lip and / or palate (27,38) , socially isolated children (37) , children with hearing loss (22) , children with aphasia (39) . Considering that a great part of the studies sought to perform evaluation in individuals with peculiar characteristics, 20 of them (4,(19)(20)(21)(22)(23)(24)(25)(26)(27)29,(31)(32)(33)(34)(35)(36)(37)(38)(39) also included, in their methodology, control groups, to compare the results found in these individuals. ...
Article
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Introduction Mismatch Negativity (MMN) is an electrophysiological potential that evaluates the brain’s capacity to discriminate sounds, regardless of attentional and behavioral capacity. Because it is an objective and user-friendly measure, it becomes promising in the study of auditory processing research in children. Purpose To verify the applicability of Mismatch Negativity (MMN) in children. Research strategy A search was conducted in August and September 2016 using the descriptors Evoked Potentials, Auditory AND Children, Event-related Potential AND Children and Electrophysiology AND Children in bibliographic collection of the electronic databases Portal BVS (Medline, IBECS and LILACS) and SciELO. Selection criteria The selection of articles was carried out in Portuguese, English and Spanish published up to September 2016 without initial date limitation and whose approach to Mismatch Negativity was with the child population. Results The search strategy resulted in the selection of 23 articles classified as original articles. The studies evidenced several applications of MMN in children, including autism spectrum disorder, auditory processing disorders, cleft lip and palate, prematurity, and language-specific disorder, being the majority of them in dyslexia. Conclusion Despite the great variability involved in the measures of MMN, there is a wide clinical applicability of this electrophysiological potential in the infant population.
... In order to establish stable mental representations of the phonological categories for the lexical tones, the listener needs to develop enhanced sensitivity to between-category contrasts and ignore subtle within-category variations, which is known as categorical perception (CP) for speech sounds 26,27 . In categorical perception of lexical tones, the continuously variable pitch information is perceptually mapped onto discrete tonal categories, which has been demonstrated in normal Chinese adults (including musicians) as well as TD children 23,[27][28][29] . If the Yu, et al. ...
... The theta activity has also been found to be associated with several other cognitive functions including memory encoding, retrieval, and maintenance 55,56 . Activity in the beta frequency band (15)(16)(17)(18)(19)(20)(21)(22)(23)(24)(25)(26)(27)(28)(29)(30) is thought to play a prominent role in perceptual binding and network interactions across modalities 49,57,58 . In language studies, beta activity was found to be associated with auditory/lexical memory 59 as well as vowel representation in an MMN paradigm 60 , and the theta frequency band was found to be important for Scientific RepoRts | 7:43254 | DOI: 10.1038/srep43254 processing phonemic contrasts 61 . ...
... In the speech condition, the TD control group showed typical enhanced neural sensitivity to the between-category deviant relative to the within-category deviant whereas the ASD group had equivalent MMRs for the two types of deviants. The MMR patterns for the lexical tone in the TD control group were consistent with previous reports on categorical perception of lexical tones in normal adults and children 27,28 , indicating that phonological representations of lexical tones in 10-year-old typically developing Chinese children are similar to those in healthy adults 28 . The lack of differentiation in MMRs for within-and between-category contrasts in the autism group confirmed our hypothesized deficit in categorical perception of lexical tones. ...
Article
Full-text available
Recent studies reveal that tonal language speakers with autism have enhanced neural sensitivity to pitch changes in nonspeech stimuli but not to lexical tone contrasts in their native language. The present ERP study investigated whether the distinct pitch processing pattern for speech and nonspeech stimuli in autism was due to a speech-specific deficit in categorical perception of lexical tones. A passive oddball paradigm was adopted to examine two groups (16 in the autism group and 15 in the control group) of Chinese children's Mismatch Responses (MMRs) to equivalent pitch deviations representing within-category and between-category differences in speech and nonspeech contexts. To further examine group-level differences in the MMRs to categorical perception of speech/nonspeech stimuli or lack thereof, neural oscillatory activities at the single trial level were further calculated with the inter-trial phase coherence (ITPC) measure for the theta and beta frequency bands. The MMR and ITPC data from the children with autism showed evidence for lack of categorical perception in the lexical tone condition. In view of the important role of lexical tones in acquiring a tonal language, the results point to the necessity of early intervention for the individuals with autism who show such a speech-specific categorical perception deficit.
... For instance, a child whose identification acuity reached an adultlike level could perceive different tone categories around the categorical boundary more confidently (Chen et al., 2017). Conversely, a child with dyslexia could have reduced CP of speech sounds due to poorer phonological processing than typical listeners (Zhang et al., 2012). ...
... The findings shed light on the potential of long-term musical training as an early clinical intervention tool for communication disorders such as developmental dyslexia (DD) and hearing impairment afflicted by atypical populations. Early studies have argued for the impaired CP in dyslexia (Serniclaes et al., 2001;Zhang et al., 2012). More specifically, one theoretical model has argued that deficits in temporal information processing lead to dyslexia (Goswami, 2011); that is, children with dyslexia are impaired in their ability to process rhythm and meter. ...
Article
Purpose Previous research has indicated the beneficial effects of musical training on speech perception in children. However, little has been known about whether musical training exerts transfer effects on fine-grained perception of linguistic pitch and time information. This study aimed to investigate the effects of different musical training programs and training duration on preschoolers' categorical perception (CP) of lexical tones and voice onset time (VOT) in Mandarin Chinese, which utilize pitch and time changes, respectively, to convey phonemic contrasts. Method Sixty-one Mandarin-speaking children aged 4 years were randomly assigned to pitch-based musical training (carillon group), rhythm-based musical training (drum group), or handcraft learning (control group). Children completed the tests designed to assess their musical abilities, CP of lexical tones and VOT, IQ, and working memory at three time-points. Repeated-measures analyses of variance were conducted to evaluate the training-related effects in various tasks. Correlation analyses were used to infer the relationships between musical abilities and CP performance of speech. Results The carillon group demonstrated advantages over the drum and control groups in music pitch processing and CP of lexical tones; besides, the drum group performed better in the music time processing and CP of VOT than the control group. Moreover, positive correlations were found between musical gains and improvements on CP of speech. Conclusions These results provide evidence that transfer effects occur in CP of lexical tones and VOT in preschoolers. Our findings highlight the selectivity of musical advantages driven by different components of training programs and suggest that long-term musical training could be a means of early speech rehabilitation in children with communication disorders.
... The allophonic perception theory of dyslexia (in at-risk children 47 ; in dyslexic children 48 ) has been tested by recording MMN to a within-category deviant (allophonic contrast: an allophone of the same phoneme), and to a between-category deviant (phonemic contrast: different phoneme). The results demonstrated neural discrimination of within-category deviants only in dyslexics 47 or enhanced discrimination of between-category deviants in controls 47,48 . In one study, the MMN findings were also paralleled by behavioral results showing that Mandarin-speaking dyslexic children were deficient in an identification task presenting lexical tones as a continuum (exemplars of the same lexical tones were presented in the MMN paradigm 48 ). ...
... The results demonstrated neural discrimination of within-category deviants only in dyslexics 47 or enhanced discrimination of between-category deviants in controls 47,48 . In one study, the MMN findings were also paralleled by behavioral results showing that Mandarin-speaking dyslexic children were deficient in an identification task presenting lexical tones as a continuum (exemplars of the same lexical tones were presented in the MMN paradigm 48 ). ...
Article
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Whereas natural acoustic variation in speech does not compromise phoneme discrimination in healthy adults, it was hypothesized to be a challenge for developmental dyslexics. We investigated dyslexics’ neural and perceptual discrimination of native language phonemes during acoustic variation. Dyslexics and non-dyslexics heard /æ/ and /i/ phonemes in a context with fo variation and then in a context without it. Mismatch negativity (MMN) and P3a responses to phoneme changes were recorded with electroencephalogram to compare groups during ignore and attentive listening. Perceptual phoneme discrimination in the variable context was evaluated with hit-ratios and reaction times. MMN/N2bs were diminished in dyslexics in the variable context. Hit-ratios were smaller in dyslexics than controls. MMNs did not differ between groups in the context without variation. These results suggest that even distinctive vowels are challenging to discriminate for dyslexics when the context resembles natural variability of speech. This most likely reflects poor categorical perception of phonemes in dyslexics. Difficulties to detect linguistically relevant invariant information during acoustic variation in speech may contribute to dyslexics’ deficits in forming native language phoneme representations during infancy. Future studies should acknowledge that simple experimental paradigms with repetitive stimuli can be insensitive to dyslexics’ speech processing deficits.
... The current research aimed to study the speech perception of CWS compared to CWNS using the categorical perception paradigm to examine the CWS group's ability to classify acoustic variations of a particular sound into either the same or different phonemic categories [32]. This method is a well-established measure that examines phonemic representations in children with developmental language and reading deficits [33][34][35][36][37]. Categorical perception is typically examined using identification and discrimination tasks. ...
... As our study was conducted in Cantonese, a tonal language that systematically distinguishes lexical meaning using pitch patterns, we designed a speech continuum that varied in suprasegmental distinctions (lexical tones), in addition to two speech continua of segmental distinctions (VOT for consonants and formant frequency for vowels) [40]. Note that the categorical perception of lexical tone distinctions has been used to distinguish the Chinese-speaking individuals with other types of speech perception deficits from typically developed individuals, such as developmental dyslexia [37,41] and congenital amusia [42][43][44]. ...
Article
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There have been controversial debates across multiple disciplines regarding the underlying mechanism of developmental stuttering. Stuttering is often related to issues in the speech production system; however, the presence and extent of a speech perception deficit is less clear. This study aimed to investigate the speech perception of children who stutter (CWS) using the categorical perception paradigm to examine their ability to categorize different acoustic variations of speech sounds into the same or different phonemic categories. In this study, 15 CWS and 16 children who do not stutter (CWNS) completed identification and discrimination tasks involving acoustic variations of Cantonese speech sounds in three stimulus contexts: consonants (voice onset times, VOTs), lexical tones, and vowels. The results showed similar categorical perception performance in boundary position and width in the identification task and similar d' scores in the discrimination task between the CWS and CWNS groups. However, the reaction times (RTs) were slower in the CWS group compared with the CWNS group in both tasks. Moreover, the CWS group had slower RTs in identifying stimuli located across categorical boundaries compared with stimuli located away from categorical boundaries. Overall, the data implied that the phoneme representation evaluated in speech perception might be intact in CWS as revealed by similar patterns in categorical perception as those in CWNS. However, the CWS group had slower processing speeds during categorical perception, which may indicate an insufficiency in accessing the phonemic representations in a timely manner, especially when the acoustic stimuli were ambiguous.
... 3 The mismatch negativity (MMN) AEP allows the understanding of the central processes of auditory perception, of different forms of memory and attention. 4 The origin process of AEPs is preattentional, 3 and its main generator is the The MMN can be generated in infants, 14 in children with typical development, with language and auditory processing disorders, [15][16][17] with reading and writing disorders and dyslexia, [17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24] with stuttering, 25 with aphasia, 26 among others. Nevertheless, despite the possibility of clinical application in the children population, it is still necessary to standardize the values of latencies and amplitudes of the MMN due to the variability in its measurements and the protocols used. ...
... 29 It is observed that most of the studies with control group present a reduced number of children in their samples. 15,16,19,20,[23][24][25][26][30][31][32][33] It should be emphasized that the casuistry of the present research is larger than others found in the scientific literature, but researches with different age groups and larger groups are necessary. ...
Article
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Introduction The Mismatch Negativity (MMN) auditory evoked potential evaluation is a promising procedure to assess objectively the ability of auditory discrimination. Objective To characterize the latency and amplitude values of MMN in children with normal auditory thresholds and without auditory complaints. Methods Children between 5 and 11 years old participated in the present study. All participants underwent acoustic immittance measurements and tonal and vocal audiometry. The MMN was recorded with the MASBE ATC Plus system (Contronic, Pelotas, RS, Brazil). The electrodes were fixed in Fz (active electrode), Fpz (ground electrode) and in M2 and M1 (references electrodes). The intensity used was 80 dBHL, the frequent stimulus was 1,000 Hz and the rare stimulus was 2,000 Hz. The stimuli were presented in both ears separately. Results For the female group, the mean latencies and amplitude of MMN were 177.3 ms and 5.01 μV in the right ear (RE) and 182.4 ms and 5.39 μV in the left ear (LE). In the male group, the mean latencies were 194.4 ms in the RE and 183.6 ms in the LE, with an amplitude of 5.11 μV in the RE and 5.83 μV in the LE. There was no statistically significant difference between ears (p = 0.867 - latency and p = 0.178 - amplitude), age (p > 0.20) and the gender of the participants (p > 0.05). Conclusion Using the described protocol, the mean latency value of MMN was 184.0 ms for RE and 182.9 ms for LE, and the amplitude was 5.05 μV and 5.56 μV for the left and right ears, respective.
... A plethora of studies have synthesized tonal continua with systematic variations in the pitch contour while keeping duration and intensity of the stimuli constant, which demonstrated robust CP of Mandarin tones among native listeners 9 of 59 with normal hearing (NH) (e.g., Wang 1973;Xu et al. 2006;Peng et al. 2010;Xi et al. 2010;Zhang et al. 2012;Yu et al. 2019;Chen & Peng 2021;Ma et al. 2021;Zhu et al. 2021;Feng & Peng 2022). Moreover, the CP paradigm of Mandarin tones has been successfully extended to individuals with CIs (e.g., Luo et al. 2014;Peng et al. 2017;Zhang et al. 2019a;Zhang et al. 2020c), showing that CI users exhibited impaired but improvable lexical tone categorization/normalization. ...
Preprint
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Objectives: Although pitch reception poses a great challenge for individuals with cochlear implants (CIs), formal auditory training (e.g., high variability phonetic training, HVPT) has been shown to provide direct benefits in pitch-related perceptual performances such as lexical tone recognition for CI users. As lexical tones in spoken language are expressed with a multitude of distinct spectral, temporal, and intensity cues, it is important to determine the sources of training benefits for CI users. The purpose of the present study was to conduct a rigorous fine-scale evaluation with the categorical perception (CP) paradigm to control the acoustic parameters and test the efficacy and sustainability of HVPT for Mandarin-speaking pediatric CI recipients. The main hypothesis was that HVPT-induced perceptual learning would greatly enhance CI users' ability to extract the primary pitch contours from spoken words for lexical tone identification and discrimination. Furthermore, individual differences in immediate and long-term gains from training would likely be attributable to baseline performance and duration of CI use. Design: Twenty-eight prelingually deaf Mandarin-speaking kindergarteners with CIs were tested. Half of them received five sessions of HVPT within a period of three weeks. The other half served as control who did not receive the formal training. Two classical CP tasks on a tonal continuum from Mandarin Tone 1 (high-flat in pitch) to Tone 2 (mid-Preprints (www.preprints.org) | NOT PEER-REVIEWED | Posted: 1 November 2022. Participants were instructed to either label a speech stimulus along the continuum (i.e., identification task) or determine whether a pair of stimuli separated by zero or two steps from the continuum was the same or different (i.e., discrimination task). Identification function measures (i.e., boundary position and boundary width) and discrimination function scores (i.e., between-category score, within-category score, and peakedness score) were assessed for each child participant across the three test sessions. Results: Linear mixed-effects (LME) models showed significant training-induced enhancement in lexical tone categorization with significantly narrower boundary width and better between-category discrimination in the immediate posttest over pretest for the trainees. Furthermore, training-induced gains were reliably retained in the follow-up test 10 weeks after training. By contrast, no significant changes were found in the control group across sessions. Regression analysis confirmed that baseline performance (i.e., boundary width in the pretest session) and duration of CI use were significant predictors for the magnitude of training-induced benefits. Conclusions: The stringent CP tests with synthesized stimuli that excluded acoustic cues other than the pitch contour and were never used in training showed strong evidence for the efficacy of HVPT in yielding immediate and sustained improvement in lexical tone categorization for Mandarin-speaking children with CIs. The training results and individual differences have remarkable implications for developing personalized computer-based short-term HVPT protocols that may have sustainable long-term benefits for aural rehabilitation in this clinical population. Abbreviations: CI = cochlear implant; CP = categorical perception; FDR = false discovery rate; F0 = fundamental frequency; H-NTLA = Hiskey-Nebraska test of learning aptitude; HVPT = high variability pho-netic training; LME = linear mixed-effects; MCI = melodic contour identification; MMN = mismatch nega-tivity; NH = normal hearing; PSOLA = Pitch-Synchronous Overlap Add; T1 = Tone 1; T2 = Tone 2; T3 = Tone 3; T4 = Tone 4; 2 AFC = two-alternative forced choice; 4 AFC = four-alternative forced choice; 9 AFC = nine-alternative forced-choice
... The results suggest that the basic CP pattern was acquired quite early in young children (e.g., Medina et al., 2010;Chen et al., 2017). Although our finding echoed earlier studies of CP in both normal and dyslexic children (Xi et al., 2009;Zhang et al., 2012;Chen et al., 2017), it ran contrary to the previous studies of Englishspeaking children who showed no CP of Mandarin Tone 1-2 continuum at age six to eight years old (Yang and Liu, 2012), indicating that continuous exposure to tone language plays a vital role in the development of CP of lexical tones and aspiration of stops. Children develop their ability to form new phonological categories based on the distribution of tokens in ambient languages (Best et al., 2016), that is, they could extract the regularities of linguistic input via statistical learning. ...
Article
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This study investigated the developmental trajectories of categorical perception (CP) of segments (i.e., stops) and suprasegments (i.e., lexical tones) in an attempt to examine the perceptual development of phonological categories and whether CP of suprasegments develops in parallel with that of segments. Forty-seven Mandarin-speaking monolingual preschoolers aged four to six years old, and fourteen adults completed both identification and discrimination tasks of the Tone 1-2 continuum and the /pa/-/pha/ continuum. Results revealed that children could perceive both lexical tones and aspiration of stops in a categorical manner by age four. The boundary position did not depend on age, with children having similar positions to adults regardless of speech continuum types. The boundary width, on the other hand, reached the adult-like level at age six for lexical tones, but not for stops. In addition, the within-category discrimination score did not differ significantly between children and adults for both continua. The between-category discrimination score improved with age and achieved the adult-like level at age five for lexical tones, but still not for stops even at age six. It suggests that the fine-grained perception of phonological categories is a protracted process, and the improvement and varying timeline of the development of segments and suprasegments are discussed in relation to statistical learning of the regularities of speech sounds in ambient language, ongoing maturation of perceptual systems, the memory mechanism underlying perceptual learning, and the intrinsic nature of speech elements.
... Xue et al. Neuropsychologia xxx (xxxx) xxx-xxx dren Lei et al., 2011;Shu et al., 2006;Zhang et al., 2012). This test requires the child to read out a list of 150 Chinese characters, which are presented in order of increasing dif\culty. ...
Article
Developmental dyslexia is known to involve dysfunctions in multiple brain regions; however, a clear understanding of the brain networks behind this disorder is still lacking. The present study examined the functional network connectivity in Chinese dyslexic children with resting-state electroencephalography (EEG) recordings. EEG data were recorded from 27 dyslexic children and 40 age-matched controls, and a minimum spanning tree (MST) analysis was performed to examine the network connectivity in the delta, theta, alpha, and beta frequency bands. The results show that, compared to age-matched controls, Chinese dyslexic children had global network deficiencies in the beta band, and the network topology was more path-like. Moderate correlations are observed between MST degree metric and rapid automatized naming and morphological awareness tests. These observations, together with the findings in alphabetic languages, show that brain network deficiency is a common neural underpinning of dyslexia across writing systems.
... As our goal was to characterize normal development, dyslexic children were excluded. As in previous studies of Chinese developmental dyslexia [32][33][34], a child was considered dyslexic if the score in a Chinese character recognition test was 1 standard deviation below the average of the same grade. Two participants thus were excluded in the present study. ...
Article
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How a child’s brain develops specialization for print is poorly understood. One longstanding account is selective neuronal tuning to regularity of visual-orthographic features, which predicts a monotonically increased neural activation for inputs with higher regularity during development. However, we observed a robust interaction between a stimulus’ orthographic regularity (bottom-up input) and children’s lexical classification ability (top-down prediction): N1 response, which is the first negative component of the event-related potential (ERP) occurring at posterior electrodes, was stronger to lower-regularity stimuli, but only in children who were less efficient in lexically classifying these stimuli (high prediction error). In contrast, N1 responses were reduced to lower-regularity stimuli in children who showed high efficiency of lexical classification (low prediction error). The modulation of children’s lexical classification efficiency on their neural responses to orthographic stimuli supports the predictive coding account of neural processes of reading.
... [18,[22][23], and for paediatric listeners e.g. [3,28]. In a developmental study, Chen et al. [3] revealed that CP of Mandarin tones emerges no later than 4-year old for NH native children. ...
Conference Paper
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Bimodal hearing with the combined use of a cochlear implant (CI) and a contralateral hearing aid (HA) has been demonstrated beneficial for deaf individuals in many aspects of speech perception. However, it remains inconsistent whether CI users can obtain bimodal benefit in lexical tone perception. To disentangle this question, Mandarin-speaking children using a CI and an HA in opposite ears were recruited to conduct perceptual tasks with a tonal continuum varying from Tone 1 to Tone 2. All participants were assessed with CI only and CI + HA conditions. Results showed typical S-shaped functions for the identification curves in both device conditions. Moreover, a sharper identification boundary and a higher peakedness score have been exhibited for the CI + HA relative to the CI only condition. The findings suggested that CI children on the whole show categorical perception for Mandarin tones and bimodal hearing could enhance their tonal categorization ability.
... A popular hypothesis is that dyslexia, a learning disability that affects the development of reading skills, is in fact the result of a subtle impairment in the way speech sounds are processed (Farmer and Klein, 1995;Van Ingelghem et al., 2005;Poelmans et al., 2011;Tallal, 1980). It is well established that both adults and children with dyslexia tend to perform worse than their non-dyslexic peers on phoneme categorization tasks, in that they tend to be less consistent at labeling speech sounds in a stimulus continuum, even for the category exemplar sounds at the continuum endpoints (Brandt and Rosen, 1980;Hakvoort et al., 2016;O'Brien et al., 2018;Serniclaes et al., 2004;Zhang et al., 2012). This yields psychometric models of their performance that exhibit shallower slope than models of typical readers' performance. ...
Article
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It is established that individuals with dyslexia are less consistent at auditory phoneme categorization than typical readers. One hypothesis attributes these differences in phoneme labeling to differences in auditory cue integration over time, suggesting that the performance of individuals with dyslexia would improve with longer exposure to informative phonetic cues. Here, the relationship between phoneme labeling and reading ability was investigated while manipulating the duration of steady-state auditory information available in a consonant-vowel syllable. Children with dyslexia obtained no more benefit from longer cues than did children with typical reading skills, suggesting that poor task performance is not explained by deficits in temporal integration or temporal sampling.
... The maximum possible score on this test is 150. In previous studies, children who scored one standard deviation below the grade average were regarded as having severe reading difficulties and possibly dyslexic (e.g., Ding et al., 2016;Ho, Chan, Lee, Tsang, & Luan, 2004;Li, Shu, McBride-Chang, Liu, & Xue, 2009;Wang & Yang, 2011;Zhang et al., 2012). A more stringent criterion (i.e., the lowest 10%) was used in the present study. ...
Article
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Previous work has shown that inefficient attentional orienting is likely a causal factor for dyslexia, however, the nature of this attentional dysfunction remains unclear. The process of attentional orienting is characterized by an early facilitation effect, resulting from the successful engagement of attention, and a later inhibitory effect—frequently referred to as inhibition of return (IOR)—which encourages attentional disengagement and facilitates efficient visual sampling. The present study examined the time course of attentional orienting in dyslexic and typically developing children, by parametrically manipulating the cue-target onset asynchronies (CTOAs) in a spatial cueing task. Experiment 1 revealed an early facilitation effect in dyslexic children, suggesting that they have no issue in engaging attention to salient spatial locations. However, contrast to both age-matched and reading level-matched healthy controls, no reliable IOR effect was observed in dyslexic children, suggesting that they have difficulties in disengaging attention. When a second cue was presented to encourage attentional disengagement in Experiment 2, reliable IOR effects were observed in the same group of dyslexic children and importantly, the onset time of IOR was comparable to that in healthy controls. These results clearly show a selective impairment of attentional disengagement in dyslexic children and provide a solid empirical basis for intervention programs focusing on attentional shifting.
... Unfortunately, most studies in the dyslexia literature that use psychometric functions to model categorization performance appear to suffer from this bias. Although most do not report their analysis methods in sufficient detail to be certain, we infer (based on published plots, and the lack of any mention of asymptote estimation) that the bias is widespread (e.g., Reed 58 ; Manis et al. 59 63 ). A few studies report using software that in principle supports asymptote estimation during psychometric fitting, but do not report the parameters used in their analysis (e.g., Vandermosten et al. 43,55 ). ...
Article
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Abstract Dyslexia is associated with abnormal performance on many auditory psychophysics tasks, particularly those involving the categorization of speech sounds. However, it is debated whether those apparent auditory deficits arise from (a) reduced sensitivity to particular acoustic cues, (b) the difficulty of experimental tasks, or (c) unmodeled lapses of attention. Here we investigate the relationship between phoneme categorization and reading ability, with special attention to the nature of the cue encoding the phoneme contrast (static versus dynamic), differences in task paradigm difficulty, and methodological details of psychometric model fitting. We find a robust relationship between reading ability and categorization performance, show that task difficulty cannot fully explain that relationship, and provide evidence that the deficit is not restricted to dynamic cue contrasts, contrary to prior reports. Finally, we demonstrate that improved modeling of behavioral responses suggests that performance does differ between children with dyslexia and typical readers, but that the difference may be smaller than previously reported.
... These two tests have been widely used for screening Chinese dyslexic readers (Cao et al., 2017;Feng et al., 2017;Meng et al., 2014;Z. Xia et al., 2016;Zhang et al., 2012). ...
... These findings point to a more general auditory deficit. A non-speech-specific auditory deficit in dyslexia, though only in the perception of rapid changes in auditory cues, is assumed by the rapid auditory processing theory (Corbera et al., 2006;Bruder et al., 2011;Lachmann et al., 2005;Meng et al., 2005;Zhang et al., 2012). ...
Article
Evidence from event-related-potential (ERP) studies has repeatedly shown differences in the perception and processing of auditory stimuli in children with dyslexia compared to control children. The mismatch negativity (MMN) – an ERP component reflecting passive auditory change detection ability – has been found to be reduced, not only in children with a diagnosis of dyslexia, but also in infants and preschool children at risk of developing dyslexia. However, the results are controversial due to the different methods, age of the children and stimuli used. The aim of the present review is to summarize and evaluate the MMN research about at-risk children in order to identify risk factors that discriminate between children with and without dyslexia risk and to analyze if the MMR (the abbreviation refers to positive and negative mismatch responses) correlates with later reading and spelling ability. A literature search yielded 17 studies reporting MMR to speech or non-speech stimuli in children at risk of dyslexia. The results of the studies were inconsistent. Studies measuring speech MMR often found attenuated amplitudes in the at-risk group, but mainly in very young children. The results for older children (6–7 years) and for non-speech stimuli are more heterogeneous. A moderate positive correlation of MMR amplitude size with later reading and spelling abilities was consistently found. Overall, the findings of this review indicate that the MMR can be a valuable part of early dyslexia identification, which can enable efficient support and intervention for a child before the first problems appear.
... Reading ability in both children and adults was measured by a word list reading test that has been used and validated in our previous research for testing Chinese reading ability (Zhang et al., 2012;Xia et al., 2016). Word list reading test is considered as a good measure of reading ability across different age groups because it focuses on reading speed and involves the processes of rapid orthography-to-phonology mapping and semantic processing. ...
Article
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Reading plays a key role in education and communication in modern society. Learning to read establishes the connections between the visual word form area (VWFA) and language areas responsible for speech processing. Using resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) and Granger Causality Analysis (GCA) methods, the current developmental study aimed to identify the difference in the relationship between the connections of VWFA-language areas and reading performance in both adults and children. The results showed that: (1) the spontaneous connectivity between VWFA and the spoken language areas, i.e., the left inferior frontal gyrus/supramarginal gyrus (LIFG/LSMG), was stronger in adults compared with children; (2) the spontaneous functional patterns of connectivity between VWFA and language network were negatively correlated with reading ability in adults but not in children; (3) the causal influence from LIFG to VWFA was negatively correlated with reading ability only in adults but not in children; (4) the RSFCs between left posterior middle frontal gyrus (LpMFG) and VWFA/LIFG were positively correlated with reading ability in both adults and children; and (5) the causal influence from LIFG to LSMG was positively correlated with reading ability in both groups. These findings provide insights into the relationship between VWFA and the language network for reading, and the role of the unique features of Chinese in the neural circuits of reading.
... This method has been proven effective in a number of previous studies (e.g. Yu et al., 2014;Zhang et al., 2012). Unlike the studies that contrast syllables and hums (e.g. ...
Article
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Previous studies on the processing of lexical tones have typically confounded effects due to phonological information (different meanings of words signalled by syllables with different tonal categories) with effects due to specific acoustic information (pitch type: pitch height/pitch contour). The present study is designed to dissociate these two kinds of effects and further investigate the processing of lexical tones at pre-attentive stage by mismatch negativity (MMN). We chose level tones and contour tones in Cantonese to differentiate pitch height from pitch contour, and manipulated tonal category (within-category/across-category) to distinguish phonological information from acoustic information. The results showed clear interactions between tonal category and pitch type in MMN mean amplitude and peak latency, suggesting the interaction between phonological information and pitch type in the pre-attentive processing of lexical tones. These results are discussed in light of cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying auditory processing of lexical tones.
... (Parbery-Clark, Tierney, Strait, & Kraus, 2012)。近 几年来, 音乐训练对于脑干功能的促进作用在正 常成年人(Parbery-Clark, Skoe, Lam, et al., 2009; Parbery-Clark, Skoe, & Kraus, 2009)、学龄儿童 (Strait, Hornickel, & Kraus, 2011; Strait, Parbery Clark, Hittner, & Kraus, 2012et al., 2003; Ramus & Szenkovits, 2008; Siok et al., 2008 Siok et al., , 2009 Zhang et al., 2012)。但语音损伤的本 质问题仍处于争论之中(Ramus & Ahissar, 2012; Ramus & Szenkovits, 2008)。一些研究者认为语音 加工缺陷本身就是核心损伤, 另一些研究者则认 为损伤的根源产生于更早的声音编码阶段, 如对 快速变化声音信号的加工等(Tallal, 2004; Temple et al., 2000; Vandermosten et al., 2010; Wang, Huss, Hämäläinen, & Goswami, 2012Banai et al., 2009; Johnson, Nicol, Zecker, & Kraus, 2007; Song, Banai, Russo, & Kraus, 2006; Wible et al., 2004), 表现为神经反应速度下降, 不同音位诱发 , Pech-Georgel, George, & Lorenzi, 2009), , 2007; Ahissar, Lubin, Putter-Katz, & Banai, 2006Banai et al., 2009; Chonchaiya et al., 2013; Hornickel, Lin, & Kraus, 2013; Veuillet, Magnan, Ecalle, Thai-Van, & Collet, 2007Banai, Nicol, Zecker, & Kraus, 2005; Chonchaiya et al., 2013; Hornickel et al., 2011; Wible et al., 2005 ...
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Background Deficits in phonological processing are commonly reported in dyslexia but longitudinal evidence that poor speech perception compromises reading is scant. This 2-year longitudinal ERP study investigates changes in pre-attentive auditory processing that underlies categorical perception of mandarin lexical tones during the years children learn to read fluently. The main purpose of the present study was to explore the development of lexical tone categorical perception to see if it can predict children’s reading ability. Methods Both behavioral and electrophysiological measures were taken in this study. Auditory event-related potentials were collected with a passive listening oddball paradigm. Using a stimulus continuum spanning from one lexical tone category exemplar to another, we identified a between-category and a within-category tone deviant that were acoustically equidistant from a standard stimulus. The standard stimulus occurred on 80% of trials, and one of two deviants (between-category or within-category) equiprobably on the remaining trials. 8-year-old Mandarin speakers participated in both an initial ERP oddball paradigm and returned for a 2-year follow-up. Results The between-category MMN and within-category MMN significantly correlate with each other at age 8 ( p = 0.001) but not at age 10. The between-category MMN at age 8 can predict children’s ability at age 10 ( p = 0.03) but the within-category cannot. Conclusion The categorical perception of lexical tone is still developing from age 8 to age 10. The behavioral and electrophysiological results demonstrate that categorical perception of lexical tone at age 8 predicts children’s reading ability at age 10.
Article
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Conquering print-sound mappings (e.g., grapheme-phoneme correspondence rules) is vital for developing fluent reading skills. In neuroimaging research, this ability can be indexed by activation differences between audiovisual congruent against incongruent conditions in brain areas such as the left superior temporal cortex. In line with it, individuals with dyslexia have difficulty in tasks requiring print-sound processing, accompanied by a reduced neural integration. However, existing evidence is almost restricted to alphabetic languages. Whether and how multisensory processing of print and sound is impaired in Chinese dyslexia remains underexplored. In this study, we applied a passive audiovisual integration paradigm with functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate the possible dysfunctions in processing character-sound (opaque; semantics can be automatically accessed) and pinyin-sound associations (transparent; no particular meaning can be confirmed) in Chinese dyslexic children. Unexpectedly, the dyslexic group did not show reduced neural integration compared with typically developing readers in either character or pinyin experiment. However, the results revealed atypical correlations between neural integration and different reading abilities in dyslexia. Specifically, while the neural integration in the left inferior frontal cortex in processing character-sound pairs correlated with silent reading comprehension in both children with and without dyslexia, it was associated with morphological awareness (semantic-related) in controls but with rapid naming (phonological-related) in dyslexics. This result indicates Chinese dyslexic children may not use the same grapho-semantic processing strategy as their typical peers do. As for pinyin-sound processing, while a stronger neural integration in the direction of "congruent > incongruent" in the left occipito-temporal cortex and bilateral superior temporal cortices was associated with better oral reading fluency in Xia et al. Print-Sound Integration in Chinese Dyslexia the control group, an opposite pattern was found in dyslexia. This finding may reflect dyslexia's dysfunctional recruitment of the regions in grapho-phonological processing, which further impedes character learning.
Article
Effortless print-sound integration is essential to reading development, and the superior temporal cortex (STC) is the most critical brain region. However, to date, the conclusion is almost restricted to alphabetic orthographies. To examine the neural basis in non-alphabetic languages and its relationship with reading abilities, we conducted a functional magnetic resonance imaging study in typically developing Chinese children. Two neuroimaging-based indicators of audiovisual processing—additive enhancement (higher activation in the congruent than the average activation of unimodal conditions) and neural integration (different activations between the congruent versus incongruent conditions)—were used to investigate character-sounds (opaque) and pinyin-sounds (transparent) processing. We found additive enhancement in bilateral STCs processing both character and pinyin stimulations. Moreover, the neural integrations in the left STC for the two scripts were strongly correlated. In terms of differentiation, first, areas beyond the STCs showed additive enhancement in processing pinyin-sounds. Second, while the bilateral STCs, left inferior/middle frontal and parietal regions manifested a striking neural integration (incongruent > congruent) for character-sounds, no significant clusters were revealed for pinyin-sounds. Finally, the neural integration in the left middle frontal gyrus for characters was specifically associated with silent reading comprehension proficiency, indicating automatic semantic processing during implicit character-sound integration. In contrast, the neural integration in the left STC for pinyin was specifically associated with oral reading fluency that relies on grapho-phonological mapping. To summarize, this study revealed both script-universal and script-specific neurofunctional substrates of print-sound integration as well as their processing- and region-dependent associations with reading abilities in typical Chinese children.
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While the close relationship between the brain system for speech processing and reading development is well-documented in alphabetic languages, whether and how such a link exists in children in a language without systematic grapheme-phoneme correspondence has not been directly investigated. In the present study, we measured Chinese children’s brain activation during an auditory lexical decision task with func- tional magnetic resonance imaging. The results showed that brain areas distributed across the temporal and frontal lobes activated during spoken word recognition. In addition, the left occipitotemporal cortex (OTC) was recruited, especially under the real word condition, thus confirming the involvement of this orthographic-related area in spoken language processing in Chinese children. Importantly, activation of the left temporoparietal cortex (TPC) in response to words and pseudowords was positively correlated with children’s reading ability, thus supporting the salient role phonological processing plays in Chinese reading in the developing brain. Furthermore, children with higher reading scores also increasingly recruited the left anterior OTC to make decisions on the lexical status of pseudowords, indicating that higher-skill children tend to search abstract lexical representations more deeply than lower-skill children in deciding whether spoken syllables are real. In contrast, the precuneus was more related to trial-by-trial reaction time in lower-skill children, suggesting that effort-related neural systems differ among pupils with varying reading abilities. Taken together, these findings suggest a strong link between the neural correlates of speech processing and reading ability in Chinese children, thus supporting a universal basis underlying reading development across languages.
Article
Purpose Although acquisition of Chinese lexical tones by second language (L2) learners has been intensively investigated, very few studies focused on categorical perception (CP) of lexical tones by highly proficient L2 learners. This study was designed to address this issue with behavioral and electrophysiological measures. Method Behavioral identification and auditory event-related potential (ERP) components for speech discrimination, including mismatch negativity (MMN), N2b, and P3b, were measured in 23 native Korean speakers who were highly proficient late L2 learners of Chinese. For the ERP measures, both passive and active listening tasks were administered to examine the automatic and attention-controlled discriminative responses to within- and across-category differences for carefully chosen stimuli from a lexical tone continuum. Results The behavioral task revealed native-like identification function of the tonal continuum. Correspondingly, the active oddball task demonstrated larger P3b amplitudes for the across-category than within-category deviants in the left recording site, indicating clear CP of lexical tones in the attentive condition. By contrast, similar MMN responses in the right recording site were elicited by both the across- and within-category deviants, indicating the absence of CP effect with automatic phonological processing of lexical tones at the pre-attentive stage even in L2 learners with high Chinese proficiency. Conclusion Although behavioral data showed clear evidence of categorical perception of lexical tones in proficient L2 learners, ERP measures from passive and active listening tasks demonstrated fine-grained sensitivity in terms of response polarity, latency, and laterality in revealing different aspects of auditory versus linguistic processing associated with speech decoding by means of largely implicit native language acquisition versus effortful explicit L2 learning.
Chapter
This chapter describes the result of changes made to year one undergraduate programmes to be all inclusive at one English medium instruction (EMI) institution within China. Recognising the similarities in the skills and techniques used to teach students the language and successful study skills, and students with dyslexia, this chapter draws on both a multi-sensory and a technology led approach. It highlights how compulsory (credit-bearing) English for academic purposes (EAP) modules, and associated teaching techniques, have been adapted to take into account issues related to students with dyslexia, enabling them to perform on an equal footing with other students. The positive impacts on progression rates for EAP modules, as well as migration of the teaching techniques into degree content classes are also highlighted, emphasising the wider impact on learning and teaching within the university and beyond.
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Although emerging evidence suggests that developmental dyslexia shows deficits in visual-spatial attention, previous studies have also confirmed that visual-spatial attention may be particularly important for reading among Chinese children with dyslexia. However, the visual-spatial attention deficit of dyslexic Chinese children has not been fully investigated. Therefore, the present study employed the cue-target paradigm and examined whether the earlier processing of visual-spatial attention deficit would be found in Chinese children with dyslexia. More importantly, we combined read level match design to determine the process of visual-spatial attention in Chinese children with dyslexia related to developmental delay or cognitive deficits. Results showed that developmental dyslexia (DD) group exhibited no cueing effect in the cue-target tasks when the stimulus onset synchronies (SOAs) were set to 100 ms, as compared with the children’s chronological age (CA). With the cueing effect as the index, we also observed that the CA group had a robust facilitation effect in early processing of visual-spatial attention. Importantly, the DD group presented an impaired facilitation effect as the same reading level (RL) group controls when SOAs were 100 ms and 350 ms. These findings suggested that impaired facilitation effect in Chinese dyslexic children is due to a developmental delay.
Article
We review cognitive-linguistic approaches to conveying meaning, sound, and orthographic information across scripts in order to highlight the impact of variability in written and spoken language on learning to read and to write words. With examples of word recognition and word writing from different scripts, including Chinese, Arabic, Persian, and English among others, we highlight 1) characteristics and boundaries of a word and how these sometimes present challenges for reading and spelling, 2) phonological sensitivity, including phonological omissions in print, suprasegmental processing, and “distance” between spoken and written forms, vis-à-vis literacy acquisition at the word level, 3) the importance of specific types of divergent visual-orthographic knowledge for the mastery of different writing systems, and 4) expanding understanding of visual-motor skills and their role in spelling across scripts. All of these aspects of variability in different writing systems should be more broadly integrated as theoretical models and intervention methods of reading or writing are tested across different writing systems.
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Perceptual adaptation is an active cognitive process where listeners re-analyse speech categories based on new contexts/situations/talkers. It involves top-down influences from higher cortical levels on lower-level auditory processes. Individuals with congenital amusia have impaired pitch processing with reduced connectivity between frontal and temporal regions. This study examined whether deficits in amusia would lead to impaired perceptual adaptation in lexical tone perception. Thirteen Mandarin-speaking amusics and 13 controls identified the category of target tones on an 8-step continuum ranging from rising to high-level, either in isolation or in a high-/low-pitched context. For tones with no context, amusics exhibited reduced categorical perception than controls. While controls’ lexical tone categorization demonstrated a significant context effect due to perceptual adaptation, amusics showed similar categorization patterns across both contexts. These findings suggest that congenital amusia impacts the extraction of context-dependent tonal categories in speech perception, indicating that perceptual adaptation may depend on listeners’ perceptual acuity.
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Previous work has shown that children with dyslexia are impaired in speech recognition in adverse listening conditions. Our study further examined how semantic context and fundamental frequency (F0) contours contribute to word recognition against interfering speech in dyslexic and non-dyslexic children. Thirty-two children with dyslexia and 35 chronological-age-matched control children were tested on the recognition of words in normal sentences versus wordlist sentences with natural versus flat F0 contours against single-talker interference. The dyslexic children had overall poorer recognition performance than non-dyslexic children. Furthermore, semantic context differentially modulated the effect of F0 contours on the recognition performances of the two groups. Specifically, compared with flat F0 contours, natural F0 contours increased the recognition accuracy of dyslexic children less than non-dyslexic children in the wordlist condition. By contrast, natural F0 contours increased the recognition accuracy of both groups to a similar extent in the sentence condition. These results indicate that access to semantic context improves the effect of natural F0 contours on word recognition in adverse listening conditions by dyslexic children who are more impaired in the use of natural F0 contours during isolated and unrelated word recognition. Our findings have practical implications for communication with dyslexic children when listening conditions are unfavorable.
Article
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Purpose Pitch reception poses challenges for individuals with cochlear implants (CIs), and adding a hearing aid (HA) in the nonimplanted ear is potentially beneficial. The current study used fine-scale synthetic speech stimuli to investigate the bimodal benefit for lexical tone categorization in Mandarin-speaking kindergarteners using a CI and an HA in opposite ears. Method The data were collected from 16 participants who were required to complete two classical tasks for speech categorical perception (CP) with CI + HA device condition and CI alone condition. Linear mixed-effects models were constructed to evaluate the identification and discrimination scores across different device conditions. Results The bimodal kindergarteners showed CP for the continuum varying from Mandarin Tone 1 and Tone 2. Moreover, the additional acoustic information from the contralateral HA contributes to improved lexical tone categorization, with a steeper slope, a higher discrimination score of between-category stimuli pair, and an improved peakedness score (i.e., an increased benefit magnitude for discriminations of between-category over within-category pairs) for the CI + HA condition than the CI alone condition. The bimodal kindergarteners with better residual hearing thresholds at 250 Hz level in the nonimplanted ear could perceive lexical tones more categorically. Conclusion The enhanced CP results with bimodal listening provide clear evidence for the clinical practice to fit a contralateral HA in the nonimplanted ear in kindergarteners with unilateral CIs with direct benefits from the low-frequency acoustic hearing.
Preprint
Dyslexia is associated with abnormal performance on many auditory psychophysics tasks, particularly those involving the categorization of speech sounds. However, it is debated whether those apparent auditory deficits arise from (a) reduced sensitivity to particular acoustic cues, (b) the difficulty of experimental tasks, or (c) unmodeled lapses of attention. Here we investigate the relationship between phoneme categorization and reading ability, with special attention to the nature of the cue encoding the phoneme contrast (static versus dynamic), differences in task paradigm difficulty, and methodological details of psychometric model fitting. We find a robust relationship between reading ability and categorization performance, show that task difficulty cannot fully explain that relationship, and provide evidence that the deficit is not restricted to dynamic cue contrasts, contrary to prior reports. Finally, we demonstrate that improved modeling of behavioral responses suggests that the gap between dyslexics and typical readers may be smaller than previously reported.
Chapter
Mismatch negativity (MMN) is an event-related potential (ERP) component used as an index for automatic auditory change detection. MMN can be elicited even when the participant does not pay attention to the stimuli (e.g., while they are reading a book or watching a silent movie). Thus, MMN serves as an excellent tool for assessing auditory discrimination, especially in infants and children with limited attention or motivation. Although MMN is well established in adults, the polarity and latency of mismatch responses (MMRs) in infants are highly inconsistent across studies. This chapter aims to provide a comprehensive review of a series of MMN studies for Mandarin lexical tone and to understand the effects of age and degree of deviance on MMRs in infancy and early childhood. The findings here suggest that MMN and positive MMR index different functional characteristics and may provide information on when and how speech perception becomes automatic at different developmental stages in children. The transition from positive to negative MMRs may serve as a neural marker for the early identification of atypical language development in children.
Article
Developmental dyslexia is a learning disorder characterized by difficulties reading words accurately and/or fluently. Several behavioral studies have suggested the presence of anomalies at an early stage of phoneme processing, when the complex spectrotemporal patterns in the speech signal are analyzed and assigned to phonemic categories. In this study, fMRI was used to compare brain responses associated with categorical discrimination of speech syllables (P) and acoustically matched nonphonemic stimuli (N) in children and adolescents with dyslexia and in typically developing (TD) controls, aged 8–17 years. The TD group showed significantly greater activation during the P condition relative to N in an area of the left ventral occipitotemporal cortex that corresponds well with the region referred to as the “visual word form area” (VWFA). Regression analyses using reading performance as a continuous variable across the full group of participants yielded similar results. Overall, the findings are consistent with those of previous neuroimaging studies using print stimuli in individuals with dyslexia that found reduced activation in left occipitotemporal regions; however, the current study shows that these activation differences seen during reading are apparent during auditory phoneme discrimination in youth with dyslexia, suggesting that the primary deficit in at least a subset of children may lie early in the speech processing stream and that categorical perception may be an important target of early intervention in children at risk for dyslexia.
Article
Mismatch negativity (MMN) is an event-related potential component used to index automatic auditory change detection. Thus, MMN provides an excellent tool to assess the speech sensitivity of infants and children. Although MMN is well established in adults, the polarity and latency of mismatch responses (MMRs) in infants are highly inconsistent across studies. This paper aims to provide a comprehensive review of MMN studies of speech perception in early infancy. In particular, data from a series of MMN studies of Mandarin lexical tone, vowels, and initial consonants will be presented to demonstrate how phonological saliency, size of deviance, and neural maturation modulate MMRs in early infancy. These data suggest that MMN and positive MMRs index different functional characteristics and may provide information on when and how children’s speech perception becomes automatic at different developmental stages. By using MMN to index sensitivity to speech discrimination, dyslexic children usually show reduced or absent MMN, which supports the relationship between phonological sensitivity and literacy. However, children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder showed the typical MMN, but attenuated P3a and enhanced late discriminative negativity. Taken together, the MMR characteristics, including amplitude, peak latency, and the transition of polarity, may be used to index the maturation of speech development and for the early identification of children with atypical language development.
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Purpose of Review We highlight the nature of dyslexia across Chinese societies. The review includes an overview of some main differences across societies that may influence the nature of dyslexia (including script, language, and educational variations), the social context of Chinese learning, and the cognitive-linguistic aspects of learning Chinese. We also list some basic criteria for the diagnosis of dyslexia and point out some promising remediation techniques. Recent Findings Focusing on the cognitive-linguistic skills of phonological sensitivity, morphological awareness, visual-orthographic processing, and fluency for identifying and remediating dyslexia is key. Those with dyslexia tend to have difficulties with one or more of these constructs. Thus, training studies focused on improving these skills have led to improvements in character and word-reading overall. Summary The underlying mechanisms of dyslexia in Chinese are increasingly better understood. A focus on improving cognitive-linguistic skills is essential for ameliorating severe reading problems in Chinese.
Article
Significance Musical training is beneficial to speech processing, but this transfer’s underlying brain mechanisms are unclear. Using pseudorandomized group assignments with 74 4- to 5-year-old Mandarin-speaking children, we showed that, relative to an active control group which underwent reading training and a no-contact control group, piano training uniquely enhanced cortical responses to pitch changes in music and speech (as lexical tones). These neural enhancements further generalized to early literacy skills: Compared with the controls, the piano-training group also improved behaviorally in auditory word discrimination, which was correlated with their enhanced neural sensitivities to musical pitch changes. Piano training thus improves children’s common sound processing, facilitating certain aspects of language development as much as, if not more than, reading instruction.
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Chinese is a logographic language that is different from alphabetic languages in visual and semantic complexity. Thus far, it is still unclear whether Chinese children with dyslexia show similar disruption of white matter pathways as in alphabetic languages. The present study focused on the alteration of white matter pathways in Chinese children with dyslexia. Using diffusion tensor imaging tractography, the bilateral arcuate fasciculus (AF-anterior, AF-posterior and AF-direct segments), inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus (IFOF) and inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF) were delineated in each individual’s native space. Compared with age-matched controls, Chinese children with dyslexia showed reduced fractional anisotropy in the left AF-direct and the left ILF. Further regression analyses revealed a functional dissociation between the left AF-direct and the left ILF. The AF-direct tract integrity was associated with phonological processing skill, an ability important for reading in all writing systems, while the ILF integrity was associated with morphological processing skill, an ability more strongly recruited for Chinese reading. In conclusion, the double disruption locus in Chinese children with dyslexia, and the functional dissociation between dorsal and ventral pathways reflect both universal and specific properties of reading in Chinese.
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Sentence context and fundamental frequency (F0) contours are important factors to speech perception and comprehension. In Chinese-Mandarin, lexical tones can be distinguished by the F0 contours. Previous studies found healthy people could use the cue of context to recover the phonological representations of lexical tones from the altered tonal patterns to comprehend the sentences in quiet condition, but can not in noise environment. Lots of research showed that patients with schizophrenia have deficits of speech perception and comprehension. However, it is unclear how context and F0 contours influence speech perception and comprehension in patients with schizophrenia. This study detected the contribution of context and lexical tone to sentence comprehension in four types of sentences by manipulating the context and F0 contours in 32 patients with schizophrenia and 33 healthy controls. The results showed that (1) in patients with schizophrenia, the interaction between context and F0 contour was not significant, which was significant in healthy controls; (2) the scores of sentences with two types of sentences with flattened F0 contours were negatively correlated with hallucination trait scores; (3) the patients with schizophrenia showed significantly lower scores on the intelligibility of sentences in all conditions, which were negatively correlated with PANSS-P. The patients with schizophrenia couldn't use the cue of context to recover the phonological representations of lexical tones from the altered tonal patterns when they comprehend the sentences, inner noise may be the underlying mechanism for the deficits of speech perception and comprehension.
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The ability to read is essential for cognitive development. To deepen our understanding of reading acquisition, we explored the neuroanatomical correlates (cortical thickness; CT) of word-reading fluency and sentence comprehension efficiency in Chinese with a group of typically developing children (N = 21; 12 females and 9 males; age range 10.7–12.3 years). Then, we investigated the relationship between the CT of reading-defined regions and the cognitive subcomponents of reading to determine whether our study lends support to the multi-component model. The results demonstrated that children’s performance on oral word reading was positively correlated with CT in the left superior temporal gyrus (LSTG), left inferior temporal gyrus (LITG), left supramarginal gyrus (LSMG) and right superior temporal gyrus (RSTG). Moreover, CT in the LSTG, LSMG and LITG uniquely predicted children’s phonetic representation, phonological awareness, and orthography–phonology mapping skills, respectively. By contrast, children’s performance on sentence-reading comprehension was positively correlated with CT in the left parahippocampus (LPHP) and right calcarine fissure (RV1). As for the subcomponents of reading, CT in the LPHP was exclusively correlated with morphological awareness, whereas CT in the RV1 was correlated with orthography–semantic mapping. Taken together, these findings indicate that the reading network of typically developing children consists of multiple sub-divisions, thus providing neuroanatomical evidence in support of the multi-componential view of reading.
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Increasing evidence suggests that children with developmental dyslexia exhibit a deficit not only at the segmental level of phonological processing but also, by extension, at the suprasegmental level. However, it remains unclear whether such a suprasegmental phonological processing deficit is due to a difficulty in processing acoustic cues of speech rhythm, such as rise time and intensity. This study set out to investigate to what extent suprasegmental phonological processing (i.e., Cantonese lexical tone perception) and rise time sensitivity could distinguish Chinese children with dyslexia from typically developing children. Sixteen children with dyslexia and 44 age-matched controls were administered a Cantonese lexical tone perception task, psychoacoustic tasks, a nonverbal reasoning ability task, and word reading and dictation tasks. Children with dyslexia performed worse than controls on Cantonese lexical tone perception, rise time, and intensity. Furthermore, Cantonese lexical tone perception appeared to be a stable indicator that distinguishes children with dyslexia from controls, even after controlling for basic auditory processing skills. These findings suggest that suprasegmental phonological processing (i.e., lexical tone perception) is a potential factor that accounts for reading difficulty in Chinese.
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Reading comprehension is a crucial reading skill for learning and putatively contains 2 key components: reading decoding and linguistic comprehension. Current understanding of the neural mechanism underlying these reading comprehension components is lacking, and whether and how neuroanatomical features can be used to predict these 2 skills remain largely unexplored. In the present study, we analyzed a large sample from the Human Connectome Project (HCP) dataset and successfully built multivariate predictive models for these 2 skills using whole-brain gray matter volume features. The results showed that these models effectively captured individual differences in these 2 skills and were able to significantly predict these components of reading comprehension for unseen individuals. The strict cross-validation using the HCP cohort and another independent cohort of children demonstrated the model generalizability. The identified gray matter regions contributing to the skill prediction consisted of a wide range of regions covering the putative reading, cerebellum, and subcortical systems. Interestingly, there were gender differences in the predictive models, with the female-specific model overestimating the males' abilities. Moreover, the identified contributing gray matter regions for the female-specific and male-specific models exhibited considerable differences, supporting a gender-dependent neuroanatomical substrate for reading comprehension.
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The genetic effects on specific behavioral phenotypes are putatively mediated by specific neural functions. It remains unexplored how the axon-guidance-receptor gene ROBO1 influences reading performance through the neural system despite the identification of ROBO1 as a susceptibility gene for dyslexia. To address this issue, the present study recruited a group of children with a wide range of reading abilities. Two previously identified reading-related ROBO1 polymorphisms were genotyped, and diffusion and structural MRI were acquired to measure the fiber microstructure of the corpus callosum (CC), the major white-matter tract that connects inter-hemispheric cortical regions. The results confirmed the significant influence of the ROBO1 polymorphisms on reading scores. The fiber microstructures of the midline-CC segments around the genu and splenium were also affected by the ROBO1 polymorphisms. Moreover, a mediation analysis further revealed that the genu could significantly mediate the effects of the ROBO1 polymorphisms on word-list reading performance, which suggests a ROBO1-to-genu-to-reading pathway. The genu-linked cortical morphology, however, was not associated with either the ROBO1 polymorphisms or reading performance. These findings offer direct evidence supporting ROBO1-callosum association in humans and also provide valuable insight into the functions of ROBO1 and the gene-to-brain mechanisms that underlie human reading. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Article
According to the neural adaptation model of the mismatch negativity (MMN), the sensitivity of this event-related response to both acoustic and categorical information in speech sounds can be accounted for by assuming that (a) the degree of overlapping between neural representations of two sounds depends on both the acoustic difference between them and whether or not they belong to distinct phonetic categories, and (b) a release from stimulus-specific adaptation causes an enhanced N1 obligatory response to infrequent deviant stimuli. On the basis of this view, we tested in Experiment 1 whether the N1 response to the second sound of a pair (S2) would be more attenuated in pairs of identical vowels compared with pairs of different vowels, and in pairs of exemplars of the same vowel category compared with pairs of exemplars of different categories. The psychoacoustic distance between S1 and S2 was the same for all within-category and across-category pairs. While N1 amplitudes decreased markedly from S1 to S2, responses to S2 were quite similar across pair types, indicating that the attenuation effect in such conditions is not stimulus specific. In Experiment 2, a pronounced MMN was elicited by a deviant vowel sound in an across-category oddball sequence, but not when the exact same deviant vowel was presented in a within-category oddball sequence. This adds evidence that MMN reflects categorical phonetic processing. Taken together, the results suggest that different neural processes underlie the attenuation of the N1 response to S2 and the MMN to vowels.
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We assess evidence and arguments brought forward by Tallal (e.g., 1980) and by the target paper (Farmer & Klein, 1995) for a general deficit in auditory temporal perception as the source of phonological deficits in impaired readers. We argue that (1) errors in temporal order judgment of both syllables and tones reflect difficulty in identifying similar (and so readily confusable) stimuli rapidly, not in judging their temporal order; (2) difficulty in identifying similar syllables or tones rapidly stem from independent deficits in speech and nonspeech discriminative capacity, not from a general deficit in rate of auditory perception; and (3) the results of dichotic experiments and studies of aphasics purporting to demonstrate left-hemisphere specialization for nonspeech auditory temporal perception are inconclusive. The paper supports its arguments with data from a recent control study. We conclude that, on the available evidence, the phonological deficit of impaired readers cannot be traced to any co-occurring nonspeech deficits so far observed and is phonetic in origin, but that its full nature, origin, and extent remain to be determined.
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Tasks of word reading in Chinese and English; nonverbal IQ; speeded naming; and units of syllable onset (a phoneme measure), syllable, and tone detection awareness were administered to 211 Hong Kong Chinese children ages 4 and 5. In separate regression equations, syllable awareness was equally associated with Chinese and English word recognition. In contrast, syllable onset awareness was uniquely associated with English reading only, whereas tone detection was uniquely associated with Chinese reading only. Results underscore both the universality of first-language phonological transfer to second-language reading and the importance of different psycholinguistic units (Ziegler & Goswami, 200557. Ziegler , J. C. and Goswami , U. 2005. Reading acquisition, developmental dyslexia, and skilled reading across languages: A psycholinguistic grain size theory.. Psychological Bulletin, 131(1): 3–29. [CrossRef], [PubMed], [Web of Science ®]View all references) for understanding reading acquisition: Tone units are integral to Chinese character recognition, whereas phonemes are more strongly associated with English word recognition, even within the same children.
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Introduces a new analytic strategy for comparing the cognitive profiles of children developing reading skills at different rates: a regression-based logic analogous to the reading-level match design, but without some of the methodological problems of that design. It provides a unique method for examining whether the reading subskill profiles of poor readers with aptitude/achievement discrepancy differ from those without discrepancy. 907 children (aged 7–16 yrs) were compared on a varied set of phonological, orthographic, memory, and language processing tasks. The results indicated that cognitive differences between these 2 groups of poor readers all reside outside of the word recognition module. The results generally support the phonological-core variable-difference model of reading disability and demonstrate that degree of aptitude/achievement discrepancy is unrelated to the unique cognitive tradeoffs that are characteristic of the word recognition performance of children with reading disabilities. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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A number of studies reported less categorical speech perception by dyslexics than in normal-reading controls: That is, in a two-alternative forced choice task (2AFC) with stimuli varying in one acoustic parameter (e.g., formant onset frequency), dyslexics show a less steep identification function than normal-reading children. This 'categorical-perception deficit' has been explained as either a general- perceptual deficit or a speech-specific, phonological deficit. A number of recent studies rendered it unlikely that dyslexia is associated with a general perceptual deficit. It remains unclear, however, how a speech-specific, phonological deficit could account for the categorical-perception deficit. Using a mathematical model, we showed that the categorical-perception deficit would be an emergent property of poor context-sensitivity in speech perception. Therefore, we tested whether dyslexics show less context sensitivity in speech perception, using acoustic, phonetic, and phonological context cues. Acoustic context effects were measured as the influence of a preceding sine-wave on the perception of a velar-alveolar stop continuum (cf. Lotto and Kluender, 1998, expt. 4). Phonetic context effects were measured as the influence of a preceding vowel-liquid syllable (/al/ and /ar/) on the perception of the same velar-alveolar stop continuum (cf. Fowler, Brown, & Mann, 2000, expt. 3a). Phonological context effects were measured by testing participants' perception of phonologically valid changes (garden bench → gardem bench, which occurs in natural speech due to place assimilation) and phonologically invalid changes (garden chair → gardem chair, which does not occur in natural speech). Adults show a context effect by hearing the canonical pronunciation garden in gardem bench but not in gardem chair. In contrast with our initial hypothesis, the results revealed that dyslexics did not show less context sensitivity than their normal-reading peers. The context sensitivity to acoustic and phonological cues was of similar size in both groups. Dyslexics were, however, more influenced by a phonetic context cue than their normal-reading peers. This is in line with the assumption that dyslexics have a less segmentally organised lexicon than their normal-reading peers. In addition, the dyslexic group did not show any evidence of a speech-perception deficit in any of the three experiments. These results provide no evidence for the assumption of a general auditory deficit in dyslexia.
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This study tests the hypothesis that dyslexia and dyscalculia are associated with two largely independent cognitive deficits, namely a phonological deficit in the case of dyslexia and a deficit in the number module in the case of dyscalculia. In four groups of 8- to 10-year-olds (42 control, 21 dyslexic, 20 dyscalculic, and 26 dyslexic/dyscalculic), phonological awareness, phonological and visual-spatial short-term and working memory, naming speed, and basic number processing skills were assessed. A phonological deficit was found for both dyslexic groups, irrespective of additional arithmetic deficits, but not for the dyscalculia-only group. In contrast, deficits in processing of symbolic and nonsymbolic magnitudes were observed in both groups of dyscalculic children, irrespective of additional reading difficulties, but not in the dyslexia-only group. Cognitive deficits in the comorbid dyslexia/dyscalculia group were additive; that is, they resulted from the combination of two learning disorders. These findings suggest that dyslexia and dyscalculia have separable cognitive profiles, namely a phonological deficit in the case of dyslexia and a deficient number module in the case of dyscalculia.
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It has been hypothesized that children with specific disabilities in reading may have subtle auditory and/or speech perception deficits. To address this question, recent investigations have focussed on whether reading disabled children show categorical speech perception. These efforts have yielded equivocal results. The present study was designed to attempt to help resolve this controversy by comparing the performance of severely disabled readers with normal readers in four speech perception tasks. Results indicated that perception was significantly less categorical among the severely disabled readers in three of the four speech perception tasks. The possible implications of this small, but significant, difference are discussed.
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This study examined neurophysiologic correlates of the perception of native and nonnative phonetic categories. Behavioral and electrophysiologic responses were obtained from Hindi and English listeners in response to a stimulus continuum of naturally produced, bilabial CV stimuli that differed in VOT from -90 to 0 ms. These speech sounds constitute phonemically relevant categories in Hindi but not in English. As expected, the native Hindi listeners identified the stimuli as belonging to two distinct phonetic categories (/ba/ and /pa/) and were easily able to discriminate a stimulus pair across these categories. On the other hand, English listeners discriminated the same stimulus pair at a chance level. In the electrophysiologic experiment N1 and MMN cortical evoked potentials (considered neurophysiologic indices of stimulus processing) were measured. The changes in N1 latency which reflected the duration of pre-voicing across the stimulus continuum were not significantly different for Hindi and English listeners. On the other hand, in response to the /ba/-/pa/ stimulus contrast, a robust MMN was seen only in Hindi listeners and not in English listeners. These results suggest that neurophysiologic levels of stimulus processing reflected by the MMN and N1 are differentially altered by linguistic experience.
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Experiments previously reported in the literature suggest that people with dyslexia have a deficit in categorical perception. However, it is still unclear whether the deficit is specific to the perception of speech sounds or whether it more generally affects auditory function. In order to investigate the relationship between categorical perception and dyslexia, as well as the nature of this categorization deficit, speech specific or not, the discrimination responses of children who have dyslexia and those of average readers to sinewave analogues of speech sounds were compared. These analogues were presented in two different conditions, either as nonspeech whistles or as speech sounds. Results showed that children with dyslexia are less categorical than average readers in the speech condition, mainly because they are better at discriminating acoustic differences between stimuli belonging to the same category. In the nonspeech condition, discrimination was also better for children with dyslexia, but differences in categorical perception were less clear-cut. Further, the location of the categorical boundary on the stimulus continuum differed between speech and nonspeech conditions. As a whole, this study shows that categorical deficit in children with dyslexia results primarily from an increased perceptibility of within-category differences and that it has a speech-specific component. These findings may have profound implications for learning and re-education.
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Dyslexia research now faces an intriguing paradox. It is becoming increasingly clear that a significant proportion of dyslexics present sensory and/or motor deficits; however, as this 'sensorimotor syndrome' is studied in greater detail, it is also becoming increasingly clear that sensory and motor deficits will ultimately play only a limited role in a causal explanation of specific reading disability.
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Identification and discrimination of lexical tones in Cantonese were compared in the context of a traditional categorical perception paradigm. Three lexical tone continua were used: one ranging from low level to high level, one from high rising to high level, and one from low falling to high rising. Identification data showed steep slopes at category boundaries, suggesting that lexical tones are perceived categorically. In contrast, discrimination curves generally showed much weaker evidence for categorical perception. Subsequent investigation showed that the presence of a tonal context played a strong role in the identification of target tones and less of a role in discrimination. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that tonal category boundaries are determined by a combination of regions of natural auditory sensitivity and the influence of linguistic experience.
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This study examined how the development of foundation skills in speech perception, language, short-term memory, and family demographics and activities in the home environment influence the development of reading skills. Data from 96 children participating in a longitudinal research project were used. It was hypothesized that measures of specific foundation skills in the preschool period and measures of family demographics and home environment could be used to identify children's reading abilities. As expected, most of the foundation skills were found to be related to and predictive of reading scores. Event-related potential (ERP) measures of speech perception, which have previously been found to be predictive of reading abilities, and measures of family and home activities and language measures were related to reading scores. Verbal short-term memory scores contributed little to the prediction of reading scores. These variables influenced the results whether they were used to discriminate reading groups or to predict a continuum of reading scores, but there were large differences in the amount of variance accounted for. More variance was accounted for in the group analyses than in the continuum analyses.
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There is a growing consensus that developmental dyslexia is associated with a phonological-core deficit. One symptom of this phonological deficit is a subtle speech-perception deficit. The auditory basis of this deficit is still hotly debated. If people with dyslexia, however, do not have an auditory deficit and perceive the underlying acoustic dimensions of speech as well as people who read normally, then why do they exhibit a categorical-perception deficit? A potential answer to this conundrum lies in the possibility that people with dyslexia do not adequately handle the context-dependent variation that speech signals typically contain. A mathematical model simulating such a sensitivity deficit mimics the speech-perception deficits attributed to dyslexia. To assess the nature of the dyslexic problem, the authors examined whether children with dyslexia handle context dependencies in speech differently than do normal-reading individuals. Contrary to the initial hypothesis, children with dyslexia did not show less context sensitivity in speech perception than did normal-reading individuals at auditory, phonetic, and phonological levels of processing, nor did they reveal any categorization deficit. Instead, intrinsic properties of online phonological processes, not phonological representations per se, may be impaired in dyslexia.
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In tonal languages such as Mandarin Chinese, a lexical tone carries semantic information and is preferentially processed in the left brain hemisphere of native speakers as revealed by the functional MRI or positron emission tomography studies, which likely measure the temporally aggregated neural events including those at an attentive stage of auditory processing. Here, we demonstrate that early auditory processing of a lexical tone at a preattentive stage is actually lateralized to the right hemisphere. We frequently presented to native Mandarin Chinese speakers a meaningful auditory word with a consonant-vowel structure and infrequently varied either its lexical tone or initial consonant using an odd-ball paradigm to create a contrast resulting in a change in word meaning. The lexical tone contrast evoked a stronger preattentive response, as revealed by whole-head electric recordings of the mismatch negativity, in the right hemisphere than in the left hemisphere, whereas the consonant contrast produced an opposite pattern. Given the distinct acoustic features between a lexical tone and a consonant, this opposite lateralization pattern suggests the dependence of hemisphere dominance mainly on acoustic cues before speech input is mapped into a semantic representation in the processing stream.
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Previous studies have shown that children suffering from developmental dyslexia have a deficit in categorical perception of speech sounds. The aim of the current study was to better understand the nature of this categorical perception deficit. In this study, categorical perception skills of children with dyslexia were compared with those of chronological age and reading level controls. Children identified and discriminated /do-to/ syllables along a voice onset time (VOT) continuum. Results showed that children with dyslexia discriminated among phonemically contrastive pairs less accurately than did chronological age and reading level controls and also showed higher sensitivity in the discrimination of allophonic contrasts. These results suggest that children with dyslexia perceive speech with allophonic units rather than phonemic units. The origin of allophonic perception in the course of perceptual development and its implication for reading acquisition are discussed.
Article
Problems in reading and spelling may arise from poor perception of speech sounds. To study the integrity of phonological access in children with developmental dyslexia (mean age 8 years, 9 months) as compared to two control groups of children (age-matched and matched on reading level), identification and discrimination functions of the features voicing and place-of-articulation were assessed. No differences were found between groups with respect to identification of place-of-articulation. With respect to identification of the voicing contrast, children with developmental dyslexia performed poorer than age-matched controls, but similar to reading-level controls. For the voicing as well as the place-of-articulation contrast, children with developmental dyslexia discriminated poorer than both control groups. This pattern of identification and discrimination performance is discussed relative to the multidimensionality of the speech perception system. The clinical relevance of these perception tasks could be demonstrated by significant negative correlations between performance on the perception tasks and reading and spelling ability. This provided additional support for a functional relation between speech perception and reading and spelling in developmental dyslexia.
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The probit method, i.e., the reduction of a sigmoid response curve to a straight line by means of a transformation of the responses based on a normal integral, was invented by Fechner. It has been used in the method of constant stimuli of psychophysics. This volume gives a systematic account of the theory and practice of the method. The first 10 chapters offer a development of the practical and computational aspects. Appendix I gives a detailed description of a systematic arrangement of the computations for the simplest types of analysis. The theory of the probit method is derived from principles as outlined in Appendix II. 22-item bibliography. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Problems in reading and spelling may arise from poor perception of speech sounds. To study the integrity of phonological access in children with developmental dyslexia (mean age 8 years, 9 months) as compared to two control groups of children (age-matched and matched on reading level), identification and discrimination functions of the features voicing and place-of-articulation were assessed. No differences were found between groups with respect to identification of place-of-articulation. With respect to identification of the voicing contrast, children with developmental dyslexia performed poorer than age-matched controls, but similar to reading-level controls. For the voicing as well as the place-of-articulation contrast, children with developmental dyslexia discriminated poorer than both control groups. This pattern of identification and discrimination performance is discussed relative to the multidimensionality of the speech perception system. The clinical relevance of these perception tasks could be demonstrated by significant negative correlations between performance on the perception tasks and reading and spelling ability. This provided additional support for a functional relation between speech perception and reading and spelling in developmental dyslexia.
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Results from a longitudinal correlational study of 244 children from kindergarten through 2nd grade indicate that young children's phonological processing abilities are well-described by 5 correlated latent abilities: phonological analysis, phonological synthesis, phonological coding in working memory, isolated naming, and serial naming. These abilities are characterized by different developmental rates and remarkably stable individual differences. Decoding did not exert a causal influence on subsequent phonological processing abilities, but letter-name knowledge did. Causal relations between phonological processing abilities and reading-related knowledge are bidirectional: Phonological processing abilities exert strong causal influences on word decoding; letter-name knowledge exerts a more modest causal influence on subsequent phonological processing abilities. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Tasks representing 9 cognitive constructs of potential importance to understanding Chinese reading development and impairment were administered to 75 children with dyslexia and 77 age-matched children without reading difficulties in 5th and 6th grade. Logistic regression analyses revealed that dyslexic readers were best distinguished from age-matched controls with tasks of morphological awareness, speeded number naming, and vocabulary skill; performance on tasks of visual skills or phonological awareness failed to distinguish the groups. Path analyses further revealed that a construct of morphological awareness was the strongest consistent predictor of a variety of literacy-related skills across both groups. Findings suggest that morphological awareness may be a core theoretical construct necessary for explaining variability in reading Chinese.
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A set of simple new procedures has been developed to enable the real-time manipulation of speech parame- ters. The proposed method uses pitch-adaptive spec- tral analysis combined with a surface reconstruction method in the time-frequency region, and an excita- tion source design based on group delay manipulation. It also consists of a fundamental frequency (F0) ex- traction method using instantaneous frequency calcu- lation based on a new concept called 'fundamental- ness'. The proposed procedures preserve the details of time-frequency surfaces while almost perfectly remov- ing fine structures due to signal periodicity. This close- to-perfect elimination of interferences and smooth F0 trajectory allow for over 600% manipulation of such speech parameters as pitch, vocal tract length, and speaking rate, while maintaining high reproduction quality.
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The literacy skills of 56 school leavers from the Bishop and Edmundson (1987) cohort of preschoolers with specific language impairment (SLI) were assessed at 15 years. The SLI group performed worse on tests of reading, spelling, and reading comprehension than age-matched controls and the literacy outcomes were particularly poor for those with Performance IQ less than 100. The rate of specific reading retardation in the SLI group had increased between the ages of 8½ and 15 years and there had been a substantial drop in reading accuracy, relative to age. However, over 35% had reading skills within the normal range and those who had had isolated impairments of expressive phonology had a particularly good outcome. Our findings highlight the limitations of discrepancy definitions of dyslexia that do not take account of the changing demands of reading over time. We argue that children's phonological difficulties place them at risk of literacy failure at the outset of reading and that later, impairments of other language skills compromise development to adult levels of fluency.
Article
In order to investigate the relationship between dyslexia and central auditory processing, 19 children with spelling disability and 15 controls at grades 5 and 6 were examined using a passive oddball paradigm. Mismatch negativity (MMN) was determined for tone and speech stimuli. While there were no group differences for the tone stimuli, we found a significantly attenuated MMN in the dyslexic group for the speech stimuli. This finding leads to the conclusion that dyslexics have a specific speech processing deficit at the sensory level which could be used to identify children at risk at an early age.
Article
Early prediction of reading disabilities in Chinese is important for early remediation efforts. In this 6-year longitudinal study, we investigated the early cognitive predictors of reading skill in a statistically representative sample of Chinese children from Beijing. Two hundred sixty-one (261) native Chinese children were administered seven language-related skills over three years between the ages of 3 and 6 years. Performances on these skills were then examined in relation to subsequent word reading accuracy and fluency. Individual differences in developmental profiles across tasks were then estimated using growth mixture modeling. Four developmental trajectories were classified - the typical (control), catch-up (with low initial cognitive performances but adequate subsequent reading), literacy-related-cognitive-delay (with difficulties in morphological awareness, phonological awareness, and speeded naming and subsequent word recognition), and language-delay (relatively low across all tasks) groups. Findings suggest that the combination of phonological awareness, rapid naming and morphological awareness are essential in the early prediction of later reading difficulties in Chinese children.
Article
The present study investigated the neurophysiological correlates of categorical perception of Chinese lexical tones in Mandarin Chinese. Relative to standard stimuli, both within- and across-category deviants elicited mismatch negativity (MMN) in bilateral frontal-central recording sites. The MMN elicited in the right sites was marginally larger than in the left sites, which reflects the role of the right hemisphere in acoustic processing. At the same time, relative to within-category deviants, the across-category deviants elicited larger MMN in the left recording sites, reflecting the long-term phonemic traces of lexical tones. These results provide strong neurophysiological evidence in support of categorical perception of lexical tones in Chinese. More important, they demonstrate that acoustic and phonological information is processed in parallel within the MMN time window for the perception of lexical tones. Finally, homologous nonspeech stimuli elicited similar MMN patterns, indicating that lexical tone knowledge influences the perception of nonspeech signals.
Article
Previous research has shown a relationship between speech perception and dyslexia in alphabetic writing. In these studies speech perception was measured using phonemes, a prominent feature of alphabetic languages. Given the primary importance of lexical tone in Chinese language processing, we tested the extent to which lexical tone and aspiration, two fundamental dimensions of Cantonese speech not represented in writing, would distinguish dyslexic from non-dyslexic 8-year-old Chinese children. Tone and aspiration were tested in addition to other phonological processing skills across groups to determine the importance of different aspects of phonological sensitivity in relation to reading disability. Dyslexic children and age-matched and reading-level controls were tested on their categorical perception of minimal pairs contrasting in tone and aspiration, phonological awareness, rapid digit naming, and Chinese reading abilities. While performing similarly to reading-level controls, dyslexic children perceived tone and aspiration contrasts less categorically and accurately than age-matched controls. They also performed more poorly than the age-matched controls on rapid digit naming and a measure of phonological awareness testing children's sensitivity to different grain size units. Dyslexia in non-alphabetic Chinese correlates with the categorical organization and accuracy of Cantonese speech perception, along the tone and aspiration dimensions. This association with reading is mediated by its association with phonological awareness. Therefore, dyslexia is universally at least partly a function of basic speech and phonological processes independent of whether the speech dimensions in question are coded in writing.
Article
The processing of speech and nonspeech sounds by 23 reading disabled children and their age- and sex-matched controls was examined in a task requiring them to identify and report the order of pairs of stimuli. Reading disabled children were impaired in making judgments with very brief tones and with stop consonant syllables at short interstimulus intervals (ISI's). They had no unusual difficulty with vowel stimuli, vowel stimuli in a white noise background, or very brief visual figures. Poor performance on the tones and stop consonants appears to be due to specific difficulty in processing very brief auditory cues. The reading disabled children also showed deficits in the perception of naturally produced words, less sharply defined category boundaries, and a greater reliance on context in making phoneme identifications. The results suggest a perceptual deficit in some reading disabled children, which interferes with the processing of phonological information.
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The possibility that phonological confusions may underlie some difficulties in processing written language was investigated using four speech perception tasks. Twelve dyslexic and four normal-reading children identified and discriminated synthetic speech syllables which varied either in voice-onset time (signaling the feature of voicing) or direction of formant transitions (signaling place of articulation). Results indicate that, like normal-reading children and adults, dyslexic children perceive these sounds categorically. Discrimination of the stimuli was limited by their identifiability. It is suggested that linguistic disturbances at other stages of the grapheme to meaning transformation underlie misreading.
Article
Reading-impaired and control children were given an experimental battery of nonverbal auditory perceptual tests which examined discrimination and temporal order perception. Stimulus tones were presented at various rates. There were no significant differences between groups on tests in which stimuli were presented at slow rates. However, when the same stimuli were presented more rapidly, the reading-impaired group made significantly more errors than the controls. The reading-impaired children's ability to use phonics skills (nonsense word reading) was also examined. There was a high correlation between the number of errors made on the phonics reading test and the number of errors made in responding to the rapidly presented stimuli in the auditory perceptual tests. The hypothesis that some reading impairments are related to low-level auditory perceptual dysfunction that affects the ability to learn to use phonics skills adequately is discussed.