Magnocellular-dorsal pathway and sub-lexical route in developmental dyslexia

Simone Gori, Paolo Cecchini, Anna Bigoni, Massimo Molteni, Andrea Facoetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although developmental dyslexia (DD) is frequently associate with a phonological deficit, the underlying neurobiological cause remains undetermined. Recently, a new model, called "temporal sampling framework" (TSF), provided an innovative prospect in the DD study. TSF suggests that deficits in syllabic perception at a specific temporal frequencies are the critical basis for the poor reading performance in DD. This approach was presented as a possible neurobiological substrate of the phonological deficit of DD but the TSF can also easily be applied to the visual modality deficits. The deficit in the magnocellular-dorsal (M-D) pathway - often found in individuals with DD - fits well with a temporal oscillatory deficit specifically related to this visual pathway. This study investigated the visual M-D and parvocellular-ventral (P-V) pathways in dyslexic and in chronological age and IQ-matched normally reading children by measuring temporal (frequency doubling illusion) and static stimuli sensitivity, respectively. A specific deficit in M-D temporal oscillation was found. Importantly, the M-D deficit was selectively shown in poor phonological decoders. M-D deficit appears to be frequent because 75% of poor pseudo-word readers were at least 1 SD below the mean of the controls. Finally, a replication study by using a new group of poor phonological decoders and reading level controls suggested a crucial role of M-D deficit in DD. These results showed that a M-D deficit might impair the sub-lexical mechanisms that are critical for reading development. The possible link between these findings and TSF is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number460
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Issue numberJUNE
Publication statusPublished - Jun 24 2014


  • Dorsal stream
  • Phonological decoding
  • Reading acquisition
  • Reading disability
  • Transient system
  • Visual disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neurology
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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