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J Cogn Neurosci. 2017 Mar;29(3):435-447. doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_01052. Epub 2016 Oct 19.

An Association between Auditory-Visual Synchrony Processing and Reading Comprehension: Behavioral and Electrophysiological Evidence.

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Northwestern University.


The perceptual system integrates synchronized auditory-visual signals in part to promote individuation of objects in cluttered environments. The processing of auditory-visual synchrony may more generally contribute to cognition by synchronizing internally generated multimodal signals. Reading is a prime example because the ability to synchronize internal phonological and/or lexical processing with visual orthographic processing may facilitate encoding of words and meanings. Consistent with this possibility, developmental and clinical research has suggested a link between reading performance and the ability to compare visual spatial/temporal patterns with auditory temporal patterns. Here, we provide converging behavioral and electrophysiological evidence suggesting that greater behavioral ability to judge auditory-visual synchrony (Experiment 1) and greater sensitivity of an electrophysiological marker of auditory-visual synchrony processing (Experiment 2) both predict superior reading comprehension performance, accounting for 16% and 25% of the variance, respectively. These results support the idea that the mechanisms that detect auditory-visual synchrony contribute to reading comprehension.

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