Pre-Readers at the Alien Zoo: A Preregistered Study of the Predictors of Dyslexia and Linguistic Sound Symbolism in 6-year-olds

AbstractRecent studies suggest that multisensory linkages between speech and vision are implicated in the development of dyslexia. Current data address this relationship in dyslexic adults, but do not inform us about its developmental trajectory. We conducted a pre-registered study of multisensory matching in 388 pre-readers in Singapore using an adaptation of the bouba-kiki task (the Alien Zoo), and compared children’s performance on this task to their earlier scores on measures known to predict dyslexia. Children’s Alien Zoo scores were lower than adults’. While the language measures were inter-correlated, we found no significant relationship between performance on the Alien Zoo task and any of the predictors of dyslexia. This may mean that the relationship is yet to emerge in this population; multisensory processing may identify an as-yet-unknown subtype of dyslexia. The children in this cohort will be tested at a later time point to establish the developmental trajectory of this relationship.

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