What: A different vision of dyslexia: Multiple causal links between visual perception and learning to read
Where: BCBL Auditorium
Who: Andrea Facoetti, PhD, Dipartimento di Psicologia Generale, Universita di Padova, Padova, Italy
When: 12:00 PM, noon
For about 5% of people reading acquisition is extremely difficult, they are affected by a heritable neurodevelopmental disorder called dyslexia. Differences in perceiving the wor(l)d might be one of the possible causes of reading disabilities. I will show multiple causal links between some aspects of visual perception and learning to read by using training and longitudinal studies. In particular, global perception, spatial attention and crowding have been investigated in my lab. Our findings reveal that: (i) global perception and spatial attention deficits as well as abnormal crowding characterize independent groups of unselected children with dyslexia; (ii) global perception and spatial attention trainings improve reading skills in children with dyslexia; and stringently (iii) pre-reading global perception, spatial attention and crowding longitudinally predict future development of reading. Challenging the uni-causal and left-lateralized phonological explanation of dyslexia, our results demonstrate that learning to read depends also on an efficient right neural network for the global analysis and the selective attention of visual scene. These results provide new insights in learning strategies and pave the way for early identification and possible prevention programs.