Impaired Statistical Learning in Developmental Dyslexia Purpose Developmental dyslexia (DD) is commonly thought to arise from phonological impairments. However, an emerging perspective is that a more general procedural learning deficit, not specific to phonological processing, may underlie DD. The current study examined if individuals with DD are capable of extracting statistical regularities across sequences of passively ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2015
Impaired Statistical Learning in Developmental Dyslexia
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Yafit Gabay
    Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Erik D. Thiessen
    Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Lori L. Holt
    Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Yafit Gabay: yafitvha@gmail.com
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Shelley Gray
    Associate Editor: Shelley Gray×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Reading & Writing Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2015
Impaired Statistical Learning in Developmental Dyslexia
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2015, Vol. 58, 934-945. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14-0324
History: Received November 19, 2014 , Revised March 4, 2015 , Accepted March 31, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2015, Vol. 58, 934-945. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14-0324
History: Received November 19, 2014; Revised March 4, 2015; Accepted March 31, 2015
Web of Science® Times Cited: 2

Purpose Developmental dyslexia (DD) is commonly thought to arise from phonological impairments. However, an emerging perspective is that a more general procedural learning deficit, not specific to phonological processing, may underlie DD. The current study examined if individuals with DD are capable of extracting statistical regularities across sequences of passively experienced speech and nonspeech sounds. Such statistical learning is believed to be domain-general, to draw upon procedural learning systems, and to relate to language outcomes.

Method DD and control groups were familiarized with a continuous stream of syllables or sine-wave tones, the ordering of which was defined by high or low transitional probabilities across adjacent stimulus pairs. Participants subsequently judged two 3-stimulus test items with either high or low statistical coherence as being the most similar to the sounds heard during familiarization.

Results As with control participants, the DD group was sensitive to the transitional probability structure of the familiarization materials as evidenced by above-chance performance. However, the performance of participants with DD was significantly poorer than controls across linguistic and nonlinguistic stimuli. In addition, reading-related measures were significantly correlated with statistical learning performance of both speech and nonspeech material.

Conclusion Results are discussed in light of procedural learning impairments among participants with DD.

Acknowledgment
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health Grant R01DC004674 to L.L.H.
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