Slower implicit categorical learning in adult poor readers

  • Sperling A
  • Lu Z
  • Manis F
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We investigated the relationship between reading and explicit and implicit categorical learning by comparing university students with poor reading to students with normal reading abilities on two categorical learning tasks. One categorical learning task involved sorting simple geometric shapes into two groups according to a unidimensional rule. The sorting rule was easily stated by the participants, consistent with explicit learning, and all participants attained criterion levels of performance. The second task involved the integration of features on different dimensions with a more complex rule that could not be described by participants, even though most could attain criterion levels of performance consistent with implicit learning. Poor readers performed as well as those without reading problems in explicit learning but not in implicit learning. Implicit learning was correlated with word reading, phonological decoding, and orthographic skill, independent of verbal ability. We consider the role of implicit learning in reading, and how a deficit could impair phonological and orthographic representation and processing. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved)

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  • Anne J. Sperling

  • Zhong Lin Lu

  • Franklin R. Manis

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