It has been hypothesized that auditory temporal processing plays a major role in the aetiology of dyslexia. Event-related brain potentials (mismatch negativity, MMN) of auditory temporal processing were assessed in 15 dyslectic adults and 20 controls. A complex tonal pattern was used where the difference between standard and deviant stimuli was the temporal, not the frequency structure. Dyslexics had a significantly smaller MMN in the time window of 225-600 ms. This result shows that dyslexics have a significant pre-attentive deficit in processing of rapid temporal patterns suggesting that it may be the temporal information embedded in speech sounds, rather than phonetic information per se, that resulted in the attenuated MMN found in dyslexics in previous studies. MMN scalp topographies were similar for both groups, showing a maximum over fronto-central leads.