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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Mental Health - Neurological Disorders - Neuroscience - Pediatrics and Child Health

Reading Text Increases Binocular Disparity in Dyslexic Children
Published: Friday, November 04, 2011
Author: Julie A. Kirkby et al.

by Julie A. Kirkby, Hazel I. Blythe, Denis Drieghe, Simon P. Liversedge

Children with developmental dyslexia show reading impairment compared to their peers, despite being matched on IQ, socio-economic background, and educational opportunities. The neurological and cognitive basis of dyslexia remains a highly debated topic. Proponents of the magnocellular theory, which postulates abnormalities in the M-stream of the visual pathway cause developmental dyslexia, claim that children with dyslexia have deficient binocular coordination, and this is the underlying cause of developmental dyslexia. We measured binocular coordination during reading and a non-linguistic scanning task in three participant groups: adults, typically developing children, and children with dyslexia. A significant increase in fixation disparity was observed for dyslexic children solely when reading. Our study casts serious doubts on the claims of the magnocellular theory. The exclusivity of increased fixation disparity in dyslexics during reading might be a result of the allocation of inadequate attentional and/or cognitive resources to the reading process, or suboptimal linguistic processing per se.
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