Developmental dyslexia and implicit learning in childhood: evidence using the artificial grammar learning paradigm
Pavlidou, Elpis V.
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This thesis explores implicit learning in children with developmental dyslexia. While specific cognitive abilities such as phonology and memory have been extensively explored in developmental dyslexia more global, fundamental abilities are rarely studied. A literature review is reported, which indicates that there is a gap in the study of more generic abilities highlighting at the same time, the need of investigating developmental dyslexia in the kind of contemporary context that learning literature provides. Implicit learning seems a suitable paradigm case to explore global abilities in developmental dyslexia since there have been suggestions that learning becomes more implicit in nature after explicit instruction. Based on the proposed relationship between implicit learning and reading, it is argued that impairments in the mechanisms of implicit learning could mediate selective weaknesses in reading performance in developmental dyslexia. The present thesis tests this argument in a series of three studies that are composed of five linked experiments. Together the three studies reported in the present thesis provide evidence for the implicit learning abilities in children with and without developmental dyslexia. The results suggest that while implicit learning abilities are found intact in typically developing children, children with developmental dyslexia on the other hand, might be facing an implicit learning deficit that could affect their reading performance and inhibit them from reaching their full learning potential.