Cognitive processing deficits in reading disabilities: A prefrontal cortical hypothesis

Mary S. Kelly, Catherine T. Best, Ursula Kirk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Scopus citations


Much research investigating the neuropsychological underpinnings of reading disabilities has emphasized posterior brain regions. However, recent evidence indicates that prefrontal cortex may also play a role. This study investigated cognitive processes that are associated with prefrontal and posterior brain functions. Subjects were 12-year-old reading disabled and nondisabled boys. Discriminant analysis procedures indicated that measures of prefrontal functions distinguished between the two groups better than measures of posterior functions. The results suggest that reading disabled boys have difficulty with cognitive processes involving selective and sustained attention, inhibition of routinized responses, set maintenance, flexibility in generating and testing alternative hypotheses, and phonemically based language production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-293
Number of pages19
JournalBrain and Cognition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1989
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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