A specific impairment in phoneme awareness has been hypothesized as one of the current explanations for dyslexia. We examined attentional shifts towards phonological information as indexed by event-related potentials (ERPs) in normal readers and dyslexic adults. Participants performed a lexical decision task on spoken stimuli of which 80% started with a standard phoneme and 20% with a deviant phoneme. A P300 modulation was expected for deviants in control adults, indicating that the phonological change had been detected. A mild and right-lateralized P300 was observed for deviant stimuli in controls, but was absent in dyslexic adults. This result suggests that dyslexic adults fail to make shifts of attention to phonological cues in the same way that normal adult readers do. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
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