Skip to main content Accessibility help

Do dyslexics have auditory input processing difficulties?



Word production difficulties are well documented in dyslexia, whereas the results are mixed for receptive phonological processing. This asymmetry raises the possibility that the core phonological deficit of dyslexia is restricted to output processing stages. The present study investigated whether a group of dyslexics had word level receptive difficulties using an auditory lexical decision task with long words and nonsense words. The dyslexics were slower and less accurate than chronological age controls in an auditory lexical decision task, with disproportionate low performance on nonsense words. The finding suggests that input processing difficulties are associated with the phonological deficit, but that these difficulties may be stronger above the level of phoneme perception.


Corresponding author

ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE Mads Poulsen, Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics, University of Copenhagen, Njalsgade 120, Copenhagen DK-2300, Denmark. E-mail:


Hide All
Adlard, A., & Hazan, V. (1998). Speech perception in children with specific reading dificulties (dyslexia). Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 51A, 153177.
Allport, A. (1984). Speech production and comprehension: One lexicon or two? In Cognition and motor processes (pp. 209228). Berlin: Springer–Verlag.
Arnbak, E., & Borstrøm, I. (2007). Udvikling og afprøvning af procedure til identifikation af elever i risikogruppe for dysleksi. In Jandorf, B. D. (Ed.), Værd at vide om ordblindhed (pp. 140). Lyngby, Denmark: Dansk Videnscenter for Ordblindhed.
Bailey, P. J., & Snowling, M. J. (2002). Auditory processing and the development of language and literacy. Britsh Medical Bulletin, 63, 135146.
Brink, L., Heger, S., & Lund, J. (1991). Den store danske udtaleordbog. København: Munksgaard.
Bruno, J. L., Manis, F. R., Keating, P., Sperling, A. J., Nakamoto, J., & Seidenberg, M. S. (2007). Auditory word identification in dyslexic and normally achieving readers. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 97, 183204.
Bryant, P., & Goswami, U. (1986). Strengths and weaknesses of the reading level design: A comment on Backman, Mamen, and Ferguson. Psychological Bulletin, 100, 101103.
Carroll, J. M., & Snowling, M. J. (2004). Language and phonological skills in children at high risk of reading difficulties. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45, 631640.
Clarke, P., Hulme, C., & Snowling, M. (2005). Individual differences in RAN and reading: A response timing analysis. Journal of Research in Reading, 28, 7386.
Constable, A., Stackhouse, J., & Wells, B. (1997). Developmental word-finding difficulties and phonological processing—The case of the missing handcuffs. Applied Psycholinguistics, 18, 507536.
Denckla, M. B., & Rudel, R. G. (1976). Rapid “automatized” naming (R.A.N.): Dyslexia differentiated from other learning disabilities. Neuropsychologia, 14, 471479.
Desroches, A. S., Joanisse, M. F., & Robertson, E. K. (2006). Specific phonological impairments in dyslexia revealed by eyetracking. Cognition, 100, B32B42.
Dietrich, J. A., & Brady, S. A. (2001). Phonological representations of adult poor readers: An investigation of specificity and stability. Applied Psycholinguistics, 22, 383418.
Dunn, L. M., & Dunn, L. M. (1981). Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test—Revised. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance.
Elbro, C. (1990). Differences in dyslexia. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.
Elbro, C. (1996). Early linguistic ability and reading development: A review and a hypothesis. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 8, 453485.
Elbro, C. (1998). When reading is “readn” or somthn. Distinctness of phonological representations of lexical items in normal and disabled readers. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 39, 149153.
Elbro, C., Borstrøm, I., & Petersen, D. K. (1998). Predicting dyslexia from kindergarten: The importance of distinctness of phonological representations of lexical items. Reading Research Quarterly, 33, 3660.
Elbro, C., & Jensen, M. N. (2005). Quality of phonological representations, verbal learning, and phoneme awareness in dyslexic and normal readers. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 46, 375384.
Elbro, C., Nielsen, I., & Petersen, D. K. (1994). Dyslexia in adults: Evidence for deficits in non-word reading and in the phonological representation of lexical items. Annals of Dyslexia, 44, 205224.
Elbro, C., Rasmussen, I., & Spelling, B. (1996). Teaching reading to disabled readers with language disorders: A controlled evaluation of synthetic speech feedback. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 37, 140155.
Fowler, A. E. (1991). How early phonological development might set the stage for phoneme awreness. In Brady, S. & Shankweiler, D. (Eds.), Phonological processes in literacy. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Fowler, A. E., & Swainson, B. (2004). Relationships of naming skills to reading, memory, and receptive vocabulary: Evidence for imprecise phonological representations of words by poor readers. Annals of Dyslexia, 54, 247280.
Foy, J. G., & Mann, V. (2001). Does strength of phonological representations predict phonological awareness in preschool children? Applied Psycholinguistics, 22, 301325.
Griffiths, Y. M., & Snowling, M. J. (2001). Auditory word identification and phonological skills in dyslexic and average readers. Applied Psycholinguistics, 22, 419439.
Grønnum, N. (2000). Danish. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 28, 99105.
Hillis, A. E. (2001). The organization of the lexical system. In Rapp, B. (Ed.), The handbook of cognitive neuropsychology, What deficits reveal about the human mind. New York: Psychology Press.
Hulme, C., & Snowling, M. (1992). Deficits in output phonology: An explanation of reading failure? Cognitive Neuropsychology, 9, 4772.
Joanisse, M. F., Manis, F. R., Keating, P., & Seidenberg, M. S. (2000). Language deficits in dyslexic children: Speech perception, phonology and morphology. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 77, 3060.
Landerl, K., & Wimmer, H. (2000). Deficits in phoneme segmentation are not the core problem of dyslexia: Evidence from German and English children. Applied Psycholinguistics, 21, 243262.
Manis, F. R., McBride-Chang, L., Seidenberg, M., Keating, P., Doi, L. M., Munson, B., et al. (1997). Are speech perception deficits associated with developmental dyslexia? Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 66, 211235.
Manis, F. R., Seidenberg, M. S., & Doi, L. M. (1999). See Dick RAN: Rapid naming and the longitudinal prediction of reading subskills in first and second graders. Scientific Studies of Reading, 3, 129157.
Martin, N., & Saffran, E. M. (2002). The relationship of input and output phonological processing: An evaluation of models and evidence to support them. Aphasiology, 16, 107150.
Martin, R. C., Breedin, S. D., & Damian, M. F. (1999). The relation of phoneme discrimination, lexical access, and short-term memory: A case study and interactive activation account. Brain and Language, 70, 437482.
Mayringer, H., & Wimmer, H. (2000). Pseudoname learning by German-speaking children with dyslexia: Evidence for a phonological learning deficit. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 75, 116133.
Metsala, J. L. (1997). Spoken word recognition in reading disabled children. Journal of Educational Psychology, 89, 159169.
Metsala, J. L. (1999). Young children's phonological awareness and nonword repetition as a function of vocabulary development. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91, 319.
Mody, M., Studdert-Kennedy, M., & Brady, S. (1997). Speech perception deficits in poor readers: Auditory processing or phonological coding. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 64, 199231.
Nation, K. (2005). Picture naming and developmental reading disorders. Journal of Research in Reading, 28, 2838.
Nation, K., Marshal, C. M., & Snowling, M. J. (2001). Phonological and semantic contributions to children's picture naming skill: Evidence from children with developmental reading disorders. Language and Cognitive Processes, 16, 241259.
Nickels, L., & Howard, D. (1995). Phonological errors in aphasic naming: Comprehension, monitoring and lexicality. Cortex, 31, 209237.
Nicolson, R. I., & Fawcett, A. J. (1994). Reaction times and dyslexia. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 47A, 2948.
Pasquini, E. S., Corriveau, K. H., & Goswami, U. (2007). Auditory processing of amplitude envelope rise time in adults diagnosed with developmental dyslexia. Scientific Studies of Reading, 11, 259286.
Ramus, F., Rosen, S., Dakin, S. C., Day, B. L., Castellote, J. M., White, S., et al. (2003). Theories of developmental dyslexia: Insights from a multiple case study of dyslexic adults. Brain, 126, 841865.
Ramus, F., & Szenkovits, G. (2008). What phonological deficit? Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 61, 129141.
Richardson, U., Thomson, J. M., Scott, S. K., & Goswami, U. (2004). Auditory processing skills and phonological representation in Dyslexic children. Dyslexia, 10, 215233.
Rosen, S. (2003). Auditory processing in dyslexia and specific language impairment: Is there a deficit? What is its nature? Does it explain anything? Journal of Phonetics, 31, 509527.
Scarborough, H. S. (1998). Early identification of children at risk for reading disabilities. In Shapiro, B. K., Accardo, P. J., & Capute, A. J. (Eds.), Specific reading disability: A view of the spectrum (pp. 75119). New York: York Press.
Snowling, M. J. (2000). Dyslexia (2nd ed.). Oxford: Blackwell.
Snowling, M. J., Goulandris, N., Bowlby, M., & Howell, P. (1986). Segmentation and speech perception in relation to reading skill: A developmental analysis. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 41, 489507.
Snowling, M. J., van Wagtendonk, B., & Stafford, C. (1988). Object-naming deficits in developmental dyslexia. Journal of Research in Reading, 11, 6785.
Søegård, A., & Petersen, S. P. B. (1974). OS-400. Ordstillelæsningsprøve. En test til vurdering af børns begyndende tolkning af trykte verbale symboler. Copenhagen: Dansk Psykologisk Forlag.
Stone, B., & Brady, S. (1995). Evidence for phonological processing deficits in less-skilled readers. Annals of Dyslexia, 45, 5178.
Swan, D., & Goswami, U. (1997). Picture naming deficits in developmental dyslexia: The phonological representation hypothesis. Brain and Language, 56, 334353.
Szenkovits, G., & Ramus, F. (2005). Exploring dyslexics’ phonological deficit I: Lexical vs sub-lexical and input vs output processes. Dyslexia, 11, 253268.
Thomson, J. M., Ben Fryer, J. M., & Goswami, U. (2006). Auditory and motor rhythm awareness in adults with dyslexia. Journal of Research in Reading, 29, 334348.
Wolf, M., O'Rourke, A. G., Gidney, C., Lovett, M., Cirino, P., & Morris, R. (2002). The second deficit: An investigation of the independence of phonological and naming-speed deficits in developmental dyslexia. Reading and Writing, 15, 4372.
Yopp, H. K. (1988). Thevalidity and reliability of phonemic awareness tests. Reading Research Quarterly, 23, 159177.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Applied Psycholinguistics
  • ISSN: 0142-7164
  • EISSN: 1469-1817
  • URL: /core/journals/applied-psycholinguistics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed