[PS-1.10] Morphological representations in pre-school children with and without familial risk for dyslexia

Louleli, N. 1, 3 , Hämäläinen, J. . 1, 3 , Nieminen, L. 2 , Parviainen, T. . 1, 3 & Leppänen, P. 1, 3

1 Dept. of Psychology, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
2 Center of Applied Language Studies, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
3 Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Research, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Difficulties in phonological processing and speech perception are associated with dyslexia, but there is considerable diversity across dyslexics (e.g. dyslexics with and without phonological difficulties). Morphological awareness plays a role for reading acquisition and awareness of derivational morphology is an indicator of morphological awareness (Kuo & Anderson, 2006). Thus, a subgroup of dyslexics might have overlapping phonological and morpho-phonological difficulties, which together increase the risk for dyslexia. This study investigates the connection between phonology, derivational morphology and dyslexia in Finnish with magnetoencephalography (MEG). Event-related fields (ERFs) of 40 pre-school Finnish children aged 6-7 years (22 typically developing and 18 at-risk for dyslexia) were measured while performing a morphological awareness task. The task consisted of 108 pairs of sentences including a verb (e.g. lukee, reads) and its stem with the derivational suffix /-jA/ (lukija, reader). The illegally derived nouns contained a morpho-phonological violation in the last vowel before the suffix. Sensor level analysis showed significant differences between groups for the legal vs. illegal contrast as well as within group differences to the legally and illegally derived word-forms. Overall, these findings suggest differences in decoding of the morphological information in children at-risk for dyslexia already before school entry.