Syntactic processing of hebrew sentences in normal and dyslexic readers: Electrophysiological evidence

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Abstract

The authors examined differences in brain activity as measured by amplitudes and latencies of event-related potential (ERP) components in Hebrew-speaking adult dyslexic and normal readers. The participants were measured while processing words' syntactic functions during reading of sentences with subject-verb-object syntactic order. The results suggested that among dyslexic and normal readers, N100 and P300 ERP components were sensitive to certain constituents of syntactic analysis for target words in accordance with their grammatical roles. The findings further demonstrated significant differences in ERP measures between dyslexic and normal readers. Compared with normal readers, dyslexic readers exhibited consistently higher amplitudes and longer latencies in both ERP components for the subject of the sentence. Significant, though less consistent, ERP variations were observed for other sentence elements. In addition, dyslexic readers differed from normal readers in their processing strategies. For normal readers, the verb-oriented, morphologically based strategy was found to be the most efficient for sentence processing in Hebrew, whereas the dyslexic readers demonstrated a more primitive mode of identification of words' grammatical roles, namely, the word-order strategy. The results support the hypothesis that there is a syntactic processing “weakness” in dyslexics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-380
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Genetic Psychology
Volume161
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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