Delta EEG activity as a marker of dysfunctional linguistic processing in developmental dyslexia

Barbara Penolazzi, Chiara Spironelli, Alessandro Angrilli
Psychophysiology 2008, 45 (6): 1025-33
The present study used delta EEG band to test the hypothesis of a cerebral maturational delay and a functional altered cerebral asymmetry for phonological processing in dyslexic children. A group of 14 children with dyslexia and 28 matched controls participated in a linguistic paradigm in which the same words were processed in three tasks: phonological, semantic, and orthographic. Delta amplitude was computed as an index of cortical inhibition in four different phases of word processing. In anterior sites, controls showed left activation (reduced delta) during the phonological task and bilateral activation in the other two tasks. Conversely, children with dyslexia showed greater overall delta amplitude, indexing a cerebral maturation delay and an altered language laterality pattern. In the phonological task they had larger left anterior delta (inhibition of left frontal linguistic locations) and smaller left posterior delta amplitude (activation of left posterior sites silent in controls). Results support the phonological deficit hypothesis of developmental dyslexia and the validity of EEG delta band as functional and clinical measure of language laterality.

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