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Cortex. 2002 Apr;38(2):179-200.

Crowding effects on word identification in developmental dyslexia.

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IUSM, Roma, Italy.


The effect of crowding on the identification of words was examined in normal readers and subjects with developmental dyslexia. In Experiment 1, a matching task was used. Words were presented either alone or embedded in other words. Vocal reaction times (RT) of dyslexics were slower and more sensitive to the presence of the surrounding stimuli than those of control subjects. Similar results were obtained in a control experiment using the same task for strings of symbols (isolated or crowded) instead of words. These data indicate that differences in crowding in control and dyslexic subjects arise at a pre-linguistic level. In Experiment 2, vocal RTs to word reading were measured. Two conditions putatively reducing the effect of crowding were tested: increasing inter-letter spacing and blurring. A moderate increase of inter-letter spacing produced faster vocal RTs in dyslexics, while no effect was present in normal controls. Moderate blurring of stimuli did not change dyslexics' RTs, while normal readers became slower. Group and individual results are discussed to evaluate the extent to which crowding contributes to the genesis of developmental dyslexia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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