Dynamic sensory sensitivity and children's word decoding skills

Joel B. Talcott, Caroline Witton, Maggie F. McLean, Peter C. Hansen, Adrian Rees, Green Gary G. R,, John F. Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The relationship between sensory sensitivity and reading performance was examined to test the hypothesis that the orthographic and phonological skills engaged in visual word recognition are constrained by the ability to detect dynamic visual and auditory events. A test battery using sensory psychophysics, psychometric tests, and measures of component literacy skills was administered to 32 unselected 10-year-old primary school children. The results suggest that children's sensitivity to both dynamic auditory and visual stimuli are related to their literacy skills. Importantly, after controlling for intelligence and overall reading ability, visual motion sensitivity explained independent variance in orthographic skill but not phonological ability, and auditory FM sensitivity covaried with phonological skill but not orthographic skill. These results support the hypothesis that sensitivity at detecting dynamic stimuli influences normal children's reading skills. Vision and audition separately may affect the ability to extract orthographic and phonological information during reading.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2952-2957
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Issue number6
Early online date25 Feb 2000
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2000


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