Eye movement correlates of acquired central dyslexia

Kerstin I Schattka, Ralph Radach, Walter Huber
Neuropsychologia 2010, 48 (10): 2959-73
Based on recent progress in theory and measurement techniques, the analysis of eye movements has become one of the major methodological tools in experimental reading research. Our work uses this approach to advance the understanding of impaired information processing in acquired central dyslexia of stroke patients with aphasia. Up to now there has been no research attempting to analyze both word-based viewing time measures and local fixation patterns in dyslexic readers. The goal of the study was to find out whether specific eye movement parameters reflect pathologically preferred segmental reading in contrast to lexical reading. We compared oral reading of single words of normal controls (n=11) with six aphasic participants (two cases of deep, surface and residual dyslexia each). Participants were asked to read aloud lines of target words differing in length and frequency. Segmental reading was characterized by deviant spatial distribution of saccadic landing positions with initial fixations located mainly at the beginning of the word, while lexical readers showed the normative 'preferred landing positions' left to the center of the words. Contrary to expectation, word length did not distinguish between segmental and lexical readers, while word frequency showed the expected effect for lexical readers only. Their mean fixation duration was already prolonged during first pass reading reflecting their attempts of immediate access to lexical information. After first pass reading, re-reading time was significantly increased in all participants with acquired central dyslexia due to their exceedingly higher monitoring demands for oral reading.

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