Free exploration of painting uncovers particularly loose yoking of saccades in dyslexics

Zoï Kapoula, Rebecca Ganem, Sarah Poncet, Daunys Gintautas, Thomas Eggert, Dominique Brémond-Gignac, Maria Pia Bucci
Dyslexia: the Journal of the British Dyslexia Association 2009, 15 (3): 243-59
Binocular yoking of saccades is essential for single vision of words during reading. This study examines the quality of binocular coordination in individuals with dyslexia, independent of the process of reading. Fifteen dyslexia children (11.2+/-1.4 years) and 15 non-dyslexia individuals (8 children, aged 11.1+/-1.3 years, and 7 adults, 24+/-3 years) were studied. Eye movements were recorded in two conditions. In the control condition, participants made saccades to a single target where the saccade direction and magnitude were controlled. In the experimental condition saccades were allowed to move freely while viewing paintings. The results indicated that, compared with the non-dyslexia group, the dyslexia group showed a larger saccade amplitude difference between the two eyes, as well as a larger conjugate post-saccadic drift, during painting exploration than that for saccades to a single target. While both groups showed a larger disconjugate post-saccadic drift during painting exploration relative to the control condition, this showed a negative correlation with saccade disconjugacy (i.e. disconjugate drift reduced the disparity) only for the non-dyslexia group. These results indicate that individuals with dyslexia have problems of binocular coordination, both during the saccade and fixations, which are independent of the reading process. It is suggested that this reflects an immaturity of the normal oculomotor learning mechanisms.

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