Olivia Kate Outhwaite “Electrophysiological Activation during Reading: Investigating State Anxiety in Students with Developmental Dyslexia”

In Students by Debbie Curtis

As a result of the substantial complications individuals with dyslexia encounter when learning to read, a reasonable question to consider is: are individuals with dyslexia more anxious than typical readers? Dyslexia exposes individuals to a concurrent cycle of anxiety and decreased reading accuracy whereby anxiety is simultaneously a by-product of reading and a pivotal feature of poor performance. Whilst research has indicated individuals with Specific Learning Difficulties have an elevated risk of developing psychosocial difficulties, there is a paucity of research exploring the specific emotional impact of dyslexia upon reading.

In collaboration with Dyslexia North East, this research aims to compare self-reported anxiety scores with physiological recordings (Heart Rate Variability, ECG and EEG) collected during aloud and silent reading tasks with higher education students. The purpose is to identify whether individuals with dyslexia experience stronger arousal when reading than skilled readers.
It will be the first study of its kind in English, hoping to advance understanding of the emotional consequences of dyslexia and how anxiety may differ across the lifespan in response to reading. By focusing on students, the project will have relevant implications for educational neuroscience, aiming to provide a trans-disciplinary account of learning whilst making recommendations to educators for reading with dyslexia. It also aims to put forward a model for implementing support guidelines at higher education institutions.

Conference Presentations:

Outhwaite, O., Young-Scholten, M., Leung, A., Almurashi, A., Ghadanfari, G., & Nash, C. 2017. ‘Play It By Ear: A Cross-Linguistic Study of Perception of Short and Reduced Vowels in L2 English’. British Association of Applied Linguistics 50th Anniversary Conference. University of Leeds, 30th September.