Testing the interhemispheric deficit theory of dyslexia using the visual half-field technique.
Bradshaw AR., Bishop D., Woodhead Z.
A deficit in interhemispheric transfer has been proposed as a neuropsychological theory of dyslexia. Interactions between the hemispheres during word recognition can be studied using the visual half-field paradigm. The well-established recognition advantage for right visual field (RVF) words over left visual field (LVF) words is thought to reflect the additional processing costs associated with callosal transfer of LVF word representations to the language-specialised left hemisphere. In addition, a further gain in recognition for bilateral presentation of a word has been attributed to cooperative interactions between the hemispheres. These recognition advantages can therefore be seen as behavioural indices of the efficiency of callosal transfer. This study aimed to replicate the finding of an absence of the bilateral advantage in developmental dyslexia, previously reported by Henderson et al. In all, 47 dyslexic and 43 control adult participants were tested, and no significant difference was found in the size of the bilateral advantage between the two groups. Our data did however replicate the previous finding of an increased RVF-LVF difference in dyslexic participants caused by poorer accuracy for LVF words (i.e., a greater LVF cost). This evidence is compatible with the interhemispheric deficit theory of dyslexia, suggesting an impairment in the transfer of visual word information from the right to the left hemisphere during reading.