Auditory frequency discrimination in adults with dyslexia : a test of the anchoring hypothesis

Frank Wijnen (Corresponding author), Astrid M.L. Kappers, Leoni D. Vlutters, Sven Winkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


A recent hypothesis ascribes dyslexia to a perceptual anchoring deficit. Supporting results have so far been obtained only in children with dyslexia and additional learning difficulties, but the hypothesis has been argued to apply to all individuals with dyslexia.

The authors measured auditory frequency discrimination thresholds in 54 young adults (native speakers of Dutch; 25 individuals with dyslexia; 29 age- and education-matched controls), with a 2-alternative forced-choice staircase paradigm. There were 2 conditions: 1 in which 1 tone in each pair had a fixed frequency across trials (standard), and 1 in which both tones varied in frequency (no standard). Presence of a standard stimulus allows the creation of a stimulus-specific representation in short-term-memory (perceptual anchor).

The standard condition yielded significantly lower discrimination thresholds in both controls and individuals with dyslexia; both groups benefited equally from the presence of an invariant stimulus.

There is no difference between this group of adults with dyslexia and controls in their capacity to form a perceptual anchor. The implication is that an anchoring deficit cannot be generalized to all cases of dyslexia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1387-1394
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


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