Visual motion sensitivity in dyslexia: Evidence for temporal and energy integration deficits

Joel B. Talcott*, Peter C. Hansen, Elikem L. Assoku, John F. Stein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In addition to poor literacy skills, developmental dyslexia has been associated with multisensory deficits for dynamic stimulus detection. In vision these deficits have been suggested to result from impaired sensitivity of cells within the retino-cortical magnocellular pathway and extrastriate areas in the dorsal stream to which they project. One consequence of such selectively reduced sensitivity is a difficulty in extracting motion coherence from dynamic noise, a deficit associated with both developmental dyslexia and persons with extrastriate, dorsal stream lesions. However the precise nature of the mechanism(s) underlying these perceptual deficits in dyslexia remain unknown. In this study, we obtained motion detection thresholds for 10 dyslexic and 10 control adults while varying the spatial and temporal parameters of the random dot kinematogram (RDK) stimuli. In Experiment 1 stimulus duration was manipulated to test whether dyslexics are specifically impaired for detecting short duration, rather than longer stimuli. Dot density was varied in Experiment 2 to examine whether dyslexics' reduced motion sensitivity was affected by the amount of motion energy present in the RDKs. Dyslexics were consistently less sensitive to coherent motion than controls in both experiments. Increasing stimulus duration did not improve dyslexics' performance, whereas increasing dot density did. Thus increasing motion energy assisted the dyslexics, suggesting that their motion detectors have a lower signal to noise ratio, perhaps due to spatial undersampling. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)935-943
Number of pages9
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding: This research was supported by the Wellcome Trust (JBT, JFS) and the MRC-IRC (PCH).


  • Coherent motion
  • Dyslexia
  • Magnocellular
  • Reading
  • Temporal processing
  • Visual


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