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Word-Decoding as a Function of Temporal Processing in the Visual System


This study explored the relation between visual processing and word-decoding ability in a normal reading population. Forty participants were recruited at Arizona State University. Flicker fusion thresholds were assessed with an optical chopper using the method of limits by a 1-deg diameter green (543 nm) test field. Word decoding was measured using reading-word and nonsense-word decoding tests. A non-linguistic decoding measure was obtained using a computer program that consisted of Landolt C targets randomly presented in four cardinal orientations, at 3-radial distances from a focus point, for eight compass points, in a circular pattern. Participants responded by pressing the arrow key on the keyboard that matched the direction the target was facing. The results show a strong correlation between critical flicker fusion thresholds and scores on the reading-word, nonsense-word, and non-linguistic decoding measures. The data suggests that the functional elements of the visual system involved with temporal modulation and spatial processing may affect the ease with which people read.

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