DOI: 10.14704/nq.2017.15.2.1066

Word recognition semantic processing defects in Chinese children with developmental dyslexia: An event-related potential study

Enguo Wang, Guangya Zhou, Yanfeng Wang, Haiwei Huang, Yabin Hou, Jinping Liu


This study reports the neurophysiological and behavioral correlates of lexical decision processes in Chinesespeaking dyslexic and non-dyslexic readers in order to understand the neural basis of dyslexia. Eighteen dyslexic children (ages 12~14) and 18 matched control children were tested, and the event-related potentials (ERPs) to real words and pseudo-words were recorded simultaneously with behavioral measures. The results showed that both groups had significantly longer response time for the pseudo-words. Furthermore, overall performance (in terms of lower accuracy and longer response time) was significantly worse among the dyslexic group during the lexical decision task. The differences between the dyslexic and control groups were mainly in the N130, RP, N400, and P600 components. The results suggest that Chinese dyslexic children have semantic processing defects. From a time course point of view, the early stages of processing reflect the Chinese dyslexic children’s morpheme integration and category sorting capacity deficiencies, while the middle stages show their semantic integration difficulties. The later stages of processing show that during semantic processing, decision-making is difficult among these children. Based on Chinese characters and phonetic system similarities, we suggest there are semantic processing defects in Chinese dyslexic children.


Word; Pseudo-word; RP; N400; P600; Dyslexia

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Supporting Agencies

The Key Laboratory of Henan University was where the cognitive and behavioral studies were completed, the National Natural Science Foundation provided funding (31371051) and the national education scientific planning project (BBA130014) and Henan province

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