Relationship between magnocellular function and reading skills in children: A study using visual evoked potentials

Tomoka Kobayashi, Masumi Inagaki, Hiroko Yamazaki, Yosuke Kita, Makiko Kaga, Akira Oka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Developmental dyslexia (DD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. The magnocellular deficit theory is one of several hypotheses that have been proposed to explain the pathophysiology of DD. In this study, we investigated magnocellular system dysfunction in Japanese dyslexic children.

Methods: Subjects were 19 dyslexic children (DD group) and 19 aged-matched healthy children (TD group). They were aged between 7 and 16 years. Reversed patterns of black and white sinusoidal gratings generated at a low spatial frequency, high reversal frequency of 7.5 Hz, and low contrasts were used specifically to stimulate the magnocellular system. We recorded visual evoked potentials (VEP) from the occipital area and examined their relationship with reading and naming tasks, such as the time to read hiragana characters, rapid automatized naming of pictured objects, and phonological manipulation.

Results: Compared to the TD group, the DD group showed a significantly lower peak amplitude of VEPs through the complex demodulation method. Structural equation modeling showed that VEP peak amplitudes were related to the rapid automatized naming of pictured objects, and better rapid automatized naming resulted in higher reading skills. There was no correlation between VEP findings and the capacity for phonological manipulation.

Conclusions: VEPs in response to the magnocellular system are useful for understanding the pathophysiology of DD. Single phonological deficit may not be sufficient to cause DD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-428
Number of pages5
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Nov 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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