Linking memory and language : Evidence for a serial-order learning impairment in dyslexia
The present study investigated long-term serial-order learning impairments, operationalized as reduced Hebb repetition learning (HRL), in people with dyslexia. In a first multi-session experiment, we investigated both the persistence of a serial-order learning impairment as well as the long-term retention of serial-order representations, both in a group of Dutch-speaking adults with developmental dyslexia and in a matched control group. In a second experiment, we relied on the assumption that HRL mimics naturalistic word-form acquisition and we investigated the lexicalization of novel word-forms acquired through HRL. First, our results demonstrate that adults with dyslexia are fundamentally impaired in the long-term acquisition of serial-order information. Second, dyslexic and control participants show comparable retention of the long-term serial-order representations in memory over a period of one month. Third, the data suggest weaker lexicalization of newly acquired word-forms in the dyslexic group. We discuss the integration of these findings into current theoretical views of dyslexia.