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Exp Brain Res. 2001 May 1;138(1):46-53.

Orienting of visual attention in dyslexia: evidence for asymmetric hemispheric control of attention.

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General Psychology Department, University of Padova, Via Venezia 8, 35131 Padova, Italy.


The control of attentional orienting was studied in children with specific reading disorder (SRD) or dyslexia, and it was compared with that of normal readers. We used the covert orienting paradigm to measure subjects' reaction times for target detection both in valid and invalid cue conditions, either in the left or in the right visual fields. In experiment 1, we investigated exogenous orienting. The cue consisted of a peripheral abrupt onset and the cue-target delay was 350 ms. As compared with normal readers, in dyslexics the cue effect was absent in the right visual field, whereas in the left visual field a greater cue effect was observed. No visual field asymmetry was found in normal readers. In experiment 2, we investigated endogenous orienting. The cue was shown centrally and the cue-target delay was 750 ms. In dyslexics and normal readers, orienting of attention was present in both visual fields. However, in the invalid condition, dyslexic children showed significantly slower reaction times in the left visual field than in the right visual field. These results were interpreted as being due to an asymmetric control of visual spatial attention, possibly related with a posterior attention mechanism deficit in the right parietal cortex and/or an interhemispheric dysfunction and/or an impairment of cerebellar functions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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