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01.12.2014 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders 1/2014

Late, not early mismatch responses to changes in frequency are reduced or deviant in children with dyslexia: an event-related potential study

Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders > Ausgabe 1/2014
Lorna F Halliday, Johanna G Barry, Mervyn J Hardiman, Dorothy VM Bishop
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1866-1955-6-21) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors' contributions

LH gathered data with dyslexic children, analysed the data, and wrote the manuscript. DB designed the original study on which this one was based and assisted with data analysis and interpretation and manuscript revision. MH created the stimulus materials and programmed their presentation. MH and JB recruited and collected data from the control sample. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Developmental disorders of oral and written language have been linked to deficits in the processing of auditory information. However, findings have been inconsistent, both for behavioural and electrophysiological measures.


In this study, we examined event-related potentials (ERPs) in 20 6- to 14-year-old children with developmental dyslexia and 20 age-matched controls, divided into younger (6–11 years, n = 10) and older (11–14 years, n = 10) age bands. We focused on early (mismatch negativity; MMN) and late (late discriminative negativity; LDN) conventional mismatch responses and associated measures derived from time-frequency analysis (inter-trial coherence and event-related spectral perturbation). Responses were elicited using an auditory oddball task, whereby a stream of 1000-Hz standards was interspersed with rare large (1,200 Hz) and small (1,030 Hz) frequency deviants.


Conventional analyses revealed no significant differences between groups in the size of the MMN to either large or small frequency deviants. However, the younger age band of children with dyslexia showed an enhanced inter-trial coherence in the theta frequency band over the time window corresponding to the MMN to small deviants. By contrast, these same children showed a reduced-amplitude LDN for the small deviants relative to their age-matched controls, whilst the older children with dyslexia showed a shorter and less intense period of event-related desynchronization over this time window.


Initial detection and discrimination of auditory frequency change appears normal or even enhanced in children with dyslexia. Rather, deficits in late-stage auditory processing appear to be a feature of this population.
Additional file 1: Table S5: Pearson correlation coefficients between the number of artefact-free epochs and MMN and LDN indices. (DOCX 13 KB)
Additional file 2: Figure S8: Significant correlations between the mismatch indices (standardised for age) and the questionnaire and psychometric measures. (TIFF 188 KB)
Authors’ original file for figure 1
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