Janse, E., De Bree, E., & Brouwer, S. (2010). Decreased sensitivity to phonemic mismatch in spoken word processing in adult developmental dyslexia. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research,39(6), 523-539. doi:10.1007/s10936-010-9150-2.
Initial lexical activation in typical populations is a direct reflection of the goodness of fit between the presented stimulus and the intended target. In this study, lexical activation was investigated upon presentation of polysyllabic pseudowords (such as procodile for crocodile) for the atypical population of dyslexic adults to see to what extent mismatching phonemic information affects lexical activation in the face of overwhelming support for one specific lexical candidate. Results of an auditory lexical decision task showed that sensitivity to phonemic mismatch was less in the dyslexic population, compared to the respective control group. However, the dyslexic participants were outperformed by their controls only for word-initial mismatches. It is argued that a subtle speech decoding deficit affects lexical activation levels and makes spoken word processing less robust against distortion.