The eye-voice lead during oral reading in developmental dyslexia

Maria De Luca, Maria Pontillo, Silvia Primativo, Donatella Spinelli, Pierluigi Zoccolotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In reading aloud, the eye typically leads over voice position. In the present study, eye movements and voice utterances were simultaneously recorded and tracked during the reading of a meaningful text to evaluate the eye-voice lead in 16 dyslexic and 16 same-age control readers. Dyslexic children were slower than control peers in reading texts. Their slowness was characterized by a great number of silent pauses and sounding-out behaviors and a small lengthening of word articulation times. Regarding eye movements, dyslexic readers made many more eye fixations (and generally smaller rightward saccades) than controls. Eye movements and voice (which were shifted in time because of the eye-voice lead) were synchronized in dyslexic readers as well as controls. As expected, the eye-voice lead was significantly smaller in dyslexic than control readers, confirming early observations by Buswell (1921) and Fairbanks (1937). The eye-voice lead was significantly correlated with several eye movements and voice parameters, particularly number of fixations and silent pauses. The difference in performance between dyslexic and control readers across several eye and voice parameters was expressed by a ratio of about 2. We propose that referring to proportional differences allows for a parsimonious interpretation of the reading deficit in terms of a single deficit in word decoding. The possible source of this deficit may call for visual or phonological mechanisms, including Goswami's temporal sampling framework.

Original languageEnglish
Article number696
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Issue numberNOV
Publication statusPublished - Nov 6 2013


  • Dyslexia
  • Eye movements
  • Eye-voice lead
  • Pronunciation time
  • Reading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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