Multiple stimulus presentation yields larger deficits in children with developmental dyslexia: A study with reading and RAN-type tasks

Pierluigi Zoccolotti, Maria De Luca, Laura Lami, Claudia Pizzoli, Maria Pontillo, Donatella Spinelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this study, we examined the effect of multiple versus single stimulus presentation in typically developing readers and children with developmental dyslexia. The tasks involved either reading single words or arrays of words or naming single or multiple colors and digits (rapid automatized naming or RAN). To be able to compare these sets of conditions, we recorded total response times (i.e., the time between stimulus onset and the end of the participants vocal response) in all cases. The study included 43 typically developing readers and 25 children with dyslexia. Results indicate that typically developing readers have a clear advantage with multiple over single items on both RAN and reading tasks. The children with dyslexia showed a moderate advantage for multiple stimuli in naming colors and digits but presented the opposite pattern in reading. With regard to reading, the disproportionate impairment of the children with dyslexia in dealing with multiple arrays suggests difficulty in integrating the multiple subcomponents of the reading task over and above the basic nuclear deficit in decoding words. Regarding the RAN tasks, results confirm that the requirement of integrating multiple subcomponents may be critical in mediating the predictive value of these measures on reading.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639-647
Number of pages9
JournalChild Neuropsychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2013



  • Dyslexia
  • RAN
  • Reading
  • Vocal RT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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