What Musicians Can Tell Us About Dyslexia and the Brain

The study of dyslexic musicians found impaired auditory working memory (eg. Inability to keep a sound in mind for a short time), thus refuting the current theory suggesting this disorder is due to difficulty processing sounds.

A currently popular theory of dyslexia suggests this disorder is due to auditory processing difficulties interfering with the ability to parse talky as well as nonsense sounds But if parsing sounds is really the whole problem, how do you explain dyslexic musicians?

Writing in the February issue of the journal Neuropsychologia, Merav Ahissar and her team at Hebrew University in Israel apparently found the missing answer.suggest that auditory working memory might be a bottleneck for the performance of people with dyslexia.

On most tests of auditory perception, the dyslexic musicians scored as well as their non- dyslexic counterparts, and better than the general population. Where they performed much worse was on tests of auditory working memory, the ability to keep a sound in mind for a short time (typically seconds). In fact, the dyslexic musicians with the poorest working memory tended to have the lowest reading accuracy. Those with better working memory tended to be more accurate. In other words, to become a linguistic virtuoso, memory is just as important as perception.

These findings might shift more of researchers’ attention to memory-related brain regions in addition to the auditory areas that have gotten most of the attention in dyslexia research.

According to Dr. Harold Levinson, these memory findings in dyslexia are crucial for a number of reasons. Visual, motor and other memory difficulties are also found in dyslexia. And these new data help to highlight the inability of phonic-related theories to explain the visual tracking, reversal, memory, concentration and related mechanisms contributing to the reading and other symptoms characterizing the dyslexia syndrome.

About Harold Levinson, M.D.

Formerly Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at New York University Medical Center, Dr. Harold Levinson is currently Director of the Levinson Medical Center for Learning Disabilities in Long Island, New York. He is a well known neuropsychiatrist, clinical researcher and author.

By Harold Levinson

For more information, Contact Us: call 1(800) 334-7323 or visit www.dyslexiaonline.com

Source: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2014/02/dyslexic-musicians/, BY GREG MILLER02.05.146:30 AM

Photo courtesy of zironicusso/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About Dr. Harold Levinson
About Harold Levinson, M.D. Formerly Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at New York University Medical Center, Dr. Harold Levinson is currently Director of the Levinson Medical Center for Learning Disabilities in Long Island, New York. He is a well-known neuropsychiatrist, clinical researcher and author. For more information, call 1(800) 334-7323 or visit: http://www.dyslexiaonline.com

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