Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
The perceptual system integrates synchronized auditory–visual signals in part to promote individuation of objects in cluttered environments. The processing of auditory–visual synchrony may more generally contribute to cognition by synchronizing internally generated multimodal signals. Reading is a prime example because the ability to synchronize internal phonological and/or lexical processing with visual orthographic processing may facilitate encoding of words and meanings. Consistent with this possibility, developmental and clinical research has suggested a link between reading performance and the ability to compare visual spatial/temporal patterns with auditory temporal patterns. Here, we provide converging behavioral and electrophysiological evidence suggesting that greater behavioral ability to judge auditory–visual synchrony (Experiment 1) and greater sensitivity of an electrophysiological marker of auditory–visual synchrony processing (Experiment 2) both predict superior reading comprehension performance, accounting for 16% and 25% of the variance, respectively. These results support the idea that the mechanisms that detect auditory–visual synchrony contribute to reading comprehension.