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Front Hum Neurosci. 2014 Mar 7;8:120. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00120. eCollection 2014.

Executive functions in developmental dyslexia.

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Neuroscience Department, Children's Hospital Bambino Gesù Rome, Italy ; Psychology Department, Libera Università Maria Ss. Assunta Rome, Italy.
Neuroscience Department, Children's Hospital Bambino Gesù Rome, Italy.


The present study was aimed at investigating different aspects of Executive Functions (EF) in children with Developmental Dyslexia (DD). A neuropsychological battery tapping verbal fluency, spoonerism, attention, verbal shifting, short-term and working memory was used to assess 60 children with DD and 65 with typical reading (TR) abilities. Compared to their controls, children with DD showed deficits in several EF domains such as verbal categorical and phonological fluency, visual-spatial and auditory attention, spoonerism, verbal and visual short-term memory, and verbal working memory. Moreover, exploring predictive relationships between EF measures and reading, we found that spoonerism abilities better explained word and non-word reading deficits. Although to a lesser extent, auditory and visual-spatial attention also explained the increased percentage of variance related to reading deficit. EF deficits found in DD are interpreted as an expression of a deficient functioning of the Central Executive System and are discussed in the context of the recent temporal sampling theory.


attention; central executive system; developmental disabilities; phonological processing; working memory

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