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Audiovisual speech perception in children and adolescents with developmental dyslexia: No deficit with McGurk stimuli

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Developmental dyslexia could, at least partially, reflect an underlying problem in forming audiovisual associations, such as between graphemes and phonemes. Some of the few studies testing people with reading difficulties on McGurk stimuli report less sensitivity to visual information, and worse processing of
visual-only speech. In this study, we tested Dutch children (M =11.0 years) and adolescents (M = 13.7 years) with developmental dyslexia, and age-matched controls. Dyslexics and age-matched controls were similarly able to recognize the nonsense syllables “apa” and “aka” from hearing or seeing a speaker. Most
critically, dyslexics and controls showed similar response patterns to McGurk stimuli, consisting of hearing “apa” combined with seeing a speaker say “aka”. Adolescents, however, perceived McGurk stimuli more often as /k/ and somewhat less often as /p/ than children, confirming earlier studies investigating age differences. Both groups did not differ in their number of fusion (/t/) responses. Concluding, audiovisual speech perception does not seem to be impaired in developmental dyslexia, if groups show similar unimodal speech perception.