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Delayed anticipatory spoken language processing in adults with dyslexia - Evidence from eye-tracking

Huettig, F., & Brouwer, S. (2015). Delayed anticipatory spoken language processing in adults with dyslexia - Evidence from eye-tracking. Dyslexia, 21(2), 97-122. doi:10.1002/dys.1497.
It is now well-established that anticipation of up-coming input is a key characteristic of spoken language comprehension. It has also frequently been observed that literacy influences spoken language processing. Here we investigated whether anticipatory spoken language processing is related to individuals’ word reading abilities. Dutch adults with dyslexia and a control group participated in two eye-tracking experiments. Experiment 1 was conducted to assess whether adults with dyslexia show the typical language-mediated eye gaze patterns. Eye movements of both adults with and without dyslexia closely replicated earlier research: spoken language is used to direct attention to relevant objects in the environment in a closely time-locked manner. In Experiment 2, participants received instructions (e.g., "Kijk naar deCOM afgebeelde pianoCOM", look at the displayed piano) while viewing four objects. Articles (Dutch “het” or “de”) were gender-marked such that the article agreed in gender only with the target and thus participants could use gender information from the article to predict the target object. The adults with dyslexia anticipated the target objects but much later than the controls. Moreover, participants' word reading scores correlated positively with their anticipatory eye movements. We conclude by discussing the mechanisms by which reading abilities may influence predictive language processing.
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The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

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