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Investigating learning deficits associated with dyslexia

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An artificial grammar learning task was used to define two learning tasks of identical complexity at the symbolic level, but which differed in terms of stimulus format. The stimuli in one learning task were created so as to encourage participants to perceive each stimulus as a whole, with less emphasis on the stimulus constituent elements (the ‘embedded’ stimuli), while in the second task the constituent elements of each stimulus were emphasized by presenting them serially (the ‘sequences’ stimuli). Using a between participants design, dyslexic participants performed equally well in the two versions of the learning task. By contrast, non‐dyslexic participants performed as well as dyslexic ones with the embedded stimuli but were impaired in the sequences stimuli. This finding was interpreted as showing that dyslexic participants were less able, compared to controls, to process individual stimulus elements of both the sequences and the embedded stimuli, consistently with recent work associating dyslexia with problems in attention focusing and shifting. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Keywords: artificial grammar learning; attentional deficits; dyslexia

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, UK 2: Disability Office, University of Edinburgh, UK

Publication date: February 1, 2004

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