Sara Bertoni

Neuroscience, Technology, and Society, XXXI series
Grant sponsor

Andrea Facoetti

Claudio Palazzi

Project description
Developmental Dyslexia (DD) is defined as a neurobiological deficit in reading acquisition despite normal intelligence, access to conventional instruction and absence of sensory deficit (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Around 7% of the population is affected by DD (Peterson & Pennington, 2012). A large number of studies on DD suggest that, besides linguistic and phonological factors, deficits in visual and auditory processing may also cause reading impairment (Eden et al., 1996; Menghini et al., 2010; Facoetti et al., 2010; Meng et al., 2011). Particularly, the magnocellular theory suggests that reading impairment is associated to atypical development of the magnocellular-dorsal pathway, which also includes the main fronto-parietal attentional network (Gori & Facoetti, 2014). Children with DD may have a range of problems with motion perception (Kevan & Pammer, 2008; 2009) and visual spatial attention (Facoetti et al., 2000; Vidyasagar & Pammer, 2010; Ruffino et al., 2014).The aim of my PhD project is to investigate the possible attentional and perceptual precursors of DD. Investigation of attention and motion perception skills in infants and pre-reading children at-risk of DD is important to study their dysfunctional neurocognitive development in order to start timely prevention program. Evidences show that playing AVG improve attentional skills (Green & Bavelier, 2003) and also improve children’s reading abilities (Franceschini et al., 2013). Other studies show how perceptual learning (PL) is able to change visual abilities (see Gori & Facoetti 2014). These neurocognitive trainings integrated in a well constructed and fun video game can be used as prevention programs on pre-reading skills for children toddlers and infants at-risk for DD (Wass et al., 2011).