Selective deficits of vibrotactile sensitivity in dyslexic readers

Catherine J. Stoodley, Joel B. Talcott*, Eleanor L. Carter, Caroline Witton, John F. Stein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Developmental dyslexia is a disability of literacy skill that has also been associated with sensory processing deficits, primarily for the detection of dynamic auditory and visual stimuli. Here we examined whether analogous deficits extend into the domain of somatosensory perception. Detection thresholds for each of three frequencies of vibration were obtained for 11 readers with a prior history of dyslexia and 14 similarly aged adult controls. The poor readers were significantly less sensitive to vibration at 3 Hz (P<0.01) but not at either 30 or 100 Hz. Detection of each of these three vibration rates is mediated primarily by a separate somatosensory fiber tract; deficits selective to 3 Hz therefore suggest an impairment within the slow-adapting I (SAI) fiber system beginning with Merkel-cell mechanoreceptors in the glabrous skin. Such evidence is compatible with the hypothesis of a generalized, multisensory deficit of temporal processing functions in dyslexia. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-16
Number of pages4
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2000


  • Developmental dyslexia
  • Temporal processing
  • Vibration detection


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