Phonology, reading acquisition, and dyslexia: Insights from connectionist models.
The development of reading skill and bases of developmental dyslexia were explored using connectionist models. Four issues were examined: the acquisition of phonological knowledge prior to reading, how this knowledge facilitates learning to read, phonological and nonphonological bases of dyslexia, and effects of literacy on phonological representation. Compared with simple feedforward networks, representing phonological knowledge in an attractor network yielded improved learning and generalization. Phonological and surface forms of developmental dyslexia, which are usually attributed to impairments in distinct lexical and nonlexical processing "routes," were derived from different types of damage to the network. The results provide a computationally explicit account of many aspects of reading acquisition using connectionist principles.