Procedural learning and dyslexia.

R. I. Nicolson*, A. J. Fawcett, R. L. Brookes, J. Needle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Three major 'neural systems', specialized for different types of information processing, are the sensory, declarative, and procedural systems. It has been proposed (Trends Neurosci., 30(4), 135-141) that dyslexia may be attributable to impaired function in the procedural system together with intact declarative function. We provide a brief overview of the increasing evidence relating to the hypothesis, noting that the framework involves two main claims: first that 'neural systems' provides a productive level of description avoiding the underspecificity of cognitive descriptions and the overspecificity of brain structural accounts; and second that a distinctive feature of procedural learning is its extended time course, covering from minutes to months. In this article, we focus on the second claim. Three studies-speeded single word reading, long-term response learning, and overnight skill consolidation-are reviewed which together provide clear evidence of difficulties in procedural learning for individuals with dyslexia, even when the tasks are outside the literacy domain. The educational implications of the results are then discussed, and in particular the potential difficulties that impaired overnight procedural consolidation would entail. It is proposed that response to intervention could be better predicted if diagnostic tests on the different forms of learning were first undertaken. 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-212
Number of pages19
JournalDyslexia (Chichester, England)
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2010

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