Video Games Training Increases Reading Abilities in Children with Dyslexia
24.14, Saturday, May 11, 2:30 - 4:15 pm, Royal Ballroom 1-3
Simone Gori1,2, Sandro Franceschini1, Milena Ruffino2, Simona Viola1, Massimo Molteni2, Andrea Facoetti1,2; 1Developmental and Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, Department of General Psychology, University of Padua, Padua 35131, Italy, 2Developmental Neuropsychology Unit, Scientific Institute E. Medea, Bosisio Parini, Lecco 23842, Italy
Learning to read is extremely difficult for about 10% of the children: they are affected by a neurodevelopmental disorder called dyslexia. In these children reading is slow and error prone, producing serious cascading influences on their life. Reading acquisition is a difficult challenge for the integration of auditory-phonological and visual-orthographic systems. The causes of dyslexia are still debated. An auditory-phonological processing disorder and a visual-attentional impairment seem to be the core deficits of dyslexia. However, dyslexia remediation is far to be fully obtained and the current treatments are highly resources-demanding. Here we demonstrate that only 12 hours playing action videogames not involving any direct phonological or orthographic training drastically improve the reading abilities of children with dyslexia. We tested reading, phonological, and attentional skills in two carefully matched dyslexics groups (N=20), before and after playing action or non-action videogames, for 9 sessions of 80 minutes per day. We found that only the group playing action videogames improved their reading abilities, superior to 8760 hours of spontaneous reading development. Attentional skills also improved during the videogames training. Individual differences in visual spatial and cross-modal temporal attention improvements accounted for about 50% of unique variance in the reading enhancement after controlling for age, IQ and phonological skill change. It has been demonstrated that only action videogames improved attention abilities, our results showed how this attention improvement can directly translate in better reading abilities providing a new, fast and fun remediation of dyslexia that also has theoretical relevance in unveiling the causal role of attention for reading acquisition.