Out-of-synchrony speech entrainment in developmental dyslexia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Nicola Molinaro
  • Mikel Lizarazu
  • Marie Lallier
  • Mathieu Bourguignon
  • Manuel Carreiras

Research units

  • Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language
  • Ikerbasque - the Basque Foundation for Science


Developmental dyslexia is a reading disorder often characterized by reduced awareness of speech units. Whether the neural source of this phonological disorder in dyslexic readers results from the malfunctioning of the primary auditory system or damaged feedback communication between higher-order phonological regions (i.e., left inferior frontal regions) and the auditory cortex is still under dispute. Here we recorded magnetoencephalographic (MEG) signals from 20 dyslexic readers and 20 age-matched controls while they were listening to ∼10-s-long spoken sentences. Compared to controls, dyslexic readers had (1) an impaired neural entrainment to speech in the delta band (0.5-1 Hz); (2) a reduced delta synchronization in both the right auditory cortex and the left inferior frontal gyrus; and (3) an impaired feedforward functional coupling between neural oscillations in the right auditory cortex and the left inferior frontal regions. This shows that during speech listening, individuals with developmental dyslexia present reduced neural synchrony to low-frequency speech oscillations in primary auditory regions that hinders higher-order speech processing steps. The present findings, thus, strengthen proposals assuming that improper low-frequency acoustic entrainment affects speech sampling. This low speech-brain synchronization has the strong potential to cause severe consequences for both phonological and reading skills. Interestingly, the reduced speech-brain synchronization in dyslexic readers compared to normal readers (and its higher-order consequences across the speech processing network) appears preserved through the development from childhood to adulthood. Thus, the evaluation of speech-brain synchronization could possibly serve as a diagnostic tool for early detection of children at risk of dyslexia.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2767–2783
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Auditory entrainment, Developmental dislexia, Effective connectivity, Magnetoencephalography, Speech perception

ID: 3066391