Intact crowding and temporal masking in dyslexia

A. Doron, M. Manassi, M.H. Herzog, M. Ahissar

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Phonological deficits in dyslexia are well documented. However, there is an ongoing discussion about whether visual deficits limit the reading skills of people with dyslexia. Here, we investigated visual crowding and backward masking. We presented a Vernier (i.e., two vertical bars slightly offset to the left or right) and asked observers to indicate the offset direction. Vernier stimuli are visually similar to letters and are strongly affected by crowding, even in the fovea. To increase task difficulty, Verniers are often followed by a mask (i.e., backward masking). We measured Vernier offset discrimination thresholds for the basic Vernier task, under crowding, and under backward masking, in students with dyslexia (n = 19) and age and intelligence matched students (n = 27). We found no group differences in any of these conditions. Controls with fast visual processing (good backward masking performance), were faster readers. By contrast, no such correlation was found among the students with dyslexia, suggesting that backward masking does not limit their reading efficiency. These findings indicate that neither elevated crowding nor elevated backward masking pose a bottleneck to reading skills of people with dyslexia.
Original languageEnglish
Article number13
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015

Bibliographical note

Michael Herzog was supported by the project, ‘‘Basics of visual processing: What crowds in crowding?'' of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF). Mauro Manassi is currently funded by Early Postdoc Mobility Fellowship (project number P2ELP3_158876) of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF). Merav Ahissar was supported by ISF grant 616/11 and by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation. Both groups were supported by the HUJI and EPFL Brain Collaboration funding.


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