Temporal variability predicts the magnitude of between-group attentional blink differences in developmental dyslexia: a meta-analysis

Nicholas A. Badcock*, Joanna C. Kidd

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)
    22 Downloads (Pure)


    Background. Here we report on a meta-analysis of the between-group main effect (Group Difference) noted in the attentional blink (AB) research focused on specific reading impairment, commonly referred to as developmental dyslexia. The AB effect relates to a limitation in the allocation of attention over time and is examined in a dual-target rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) paradigm. When the second target appears in close temporal proximity to the first target, the second target is reported less accurately.

    Method. A Web of Science search with terms "attentional blink" & dyslexia returned 13 AB experiments (11 papers) conducted with developmental dyslexia. After exclusions, 12 experiments were included in the meta-analysis. The main pattern of performance from those experiments was lower overall accuracy in groups of individuals with dyslexia relative to typically reading peers; that is, a between-group main effect. This meta-analysis examined the size of the Group Difference in relation to temporal and task-set related features, which differed between and within experiments.

    Results. Random effects modelling indicated a significant Group Difference of -0.74 standard deviation units, 95% CI [-.96, -.52], p <.001 (excluding one anomalous result): implicating significantly poorer overall dual-target performance in dyslexic readers. Meta-regression analyses indicated two variables related to the Group Difference; pre-RSVP time and temporal variability of the second target relative to the first target within the RSVP.

    Discussion. It is suggested that the endogenous engagement of the temporal features of task-set is slower or disrupted in developmental dyslexia.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere746
    Pages (from-to)1-18
    Number of pages18
    Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2015

    Bibliographical note

    Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • dyslexia
    • attentional blink
    • meta-analysis
    • task-set
    • temporal orienting
    • endogenous control
    • reading


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