Central auditory processing and brain laterality: Applications to dyslexia

Research Area: Research Year: 1999
Type of Publication: Article
Authors: Hugdahl, Kenneth; Heiervang, E; Nordby, H; Smievoll, A I; Steinmetz, H; Stevenson, J; Lund, A
We review data from our laboratory related to a view of dyslexia as a biological disorder, or deficit, caused by both structural and functional brain abnormalities. The review is focused on central auditory processing in dyslexia, and the possibility that impairments in the auditory or acoustic features of the phonological code may be at the heart of the impairments seen in dyslexia. Three methodological approaches by which to investigate central auditory processing deficits are outlined: dichotic listening (DL) to consonant-vowel syllables; magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and the use of event-related potentials (ERPs). Consonant-vowel syllable DL is a technique for probing the functional status of phonological processing areas in the superior temporal gyrus, particularly in the left hemisphere. MRI is a corresponding structural, or morphological, measure of anatomical abnormalities in the same brain region, particularly covering the planum temporale area. The ERP technique, and particularly the mismatch negativity (MMN) component, reveals cortical dysfunctions in sensory processing and memory related to basic acoustic events. For all three approaches, the dyslexic children were seen to differ from their control counterparts, including absence of modulation of the right ear advantage (REA), in DL through shifting of attention, smaller left-sided planum temporale asymmetry, and prolonged latency in the MMN ERP complex, particularly in the time-deviant stimulus condition.
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