Attentional and lexical factors underlying word-centred neglect dyslexia errors in healthy readers.
Gurd J., Demeyere N., Moore MJ.
Word-centred neglect dyslexia is most commonly conceptualised as a deficit caused by attentional biases within spatially coded internal representations of words. However, recent research has suggested that at least some cases of word-centred neglect dyslexia are unrelated to visuospatial neglect and may instead be modulated by self-inhibition and lexical factors. Here, we set out to provide novel insight into potential underlying mechanisms modulating the occurrence of word-centred lateralised reading errors in healthy participants. A sample of 47 healthy readers completed a novel attentional cueing paradigm in which they sequentially identified lateral cues and read presented words under limited exposure conditions. Reading responses were analysed to determine whether word-centred neglect dyslexia could be simulated in healthy readers, to compare the strengths of induced biases, and to identify systematic differences in lexical characteristics between target words and neglect dyslexia reading errors. Healthy participants produced frequent lateralised reading errors in both horizontal and vertical reading stimuli with > 50% of errors classed as neglect dyslexic. Cues appended to word beginnings elicited significantly more reading errors than cues at word ends, illustrating the interaction between existing reading spatial attentional biases and cue-induced biases. Neglect dyslexia reading errors were found to contain significantly more letters per word and had higher concreteness ratings than target words. These findings demonstrate that word-centred neglect dyslexia can be simulated using attentional cues in healthy readers. These results provide important insight into the mechanisms underlying word-centred neglect dyslexia and further fundamental understanding of this syndrome.