Many theories have been put forward that propose that developmental dyslexia is caused by low-level neural, cognitive, or perceptual deficits. For example, statistical learning is a cognitive mechanism that allows the learner to detect a probabilistic pattern in a stream of stimuli and to generalise the knowledge of this pattern to similar stimuli. The link between statistical learning and reading ability is indirect, with intermediate skills, such as knowledge of frequently co-occurring letters, likely being causally dependent on statistical learning skills and, in turn, causing individual variation in reading ability. We discuss theoretical issues regarding what a link between statistical learning and reading ability actually means and review the evidence for such a deficit. We then describe and simulate the “noisy chain hypothesis”, where each intermediary link between a proposed cause and the end-state of reading ability reduces the correlation coefficient between the low-level deficit and the end-state outcome of reading. We draw the following conclusions: (1) Empirically, there is evidence for a correlation between statistical learning ability and reading ability, but there is no evidence to suggest that this relationship is causal, (2) theoretically, focussing on a complete causal chain between a distal cause and developmental dyslexia, rather than the two endpoints of the distal cause and reading ability only, is necessary for understanding the underlying processes, (3) statistically, the indirect nature of the link between statistical learning and reading ability means that the magnitude of the correlation is diluted by other influencing variables, yielding most studies to date underpowered, and (4) practically, it is unclear what can be gained from invoking the concept of statistical learning in teaching children to read.

Developmental Dyslexia, Reading Acquisition, and Statistical Learning: A Sceptic’s Guide / Schmalz, Xenia; Treccani, Barbara; Mulatti, Claudio. - In: BRAIN SCIENCES. - ISSN 2076-3425. - ELETTRONICO. - 2021, 11:9(2021), pp. 1143.1-1143.19. [10.3390/brainsci11091143]

Developmental Dyslexia, Reading Acquisition, and Statistical Learning: A Sceptic’s Guide

Treccani, Barbara;Mulatti, Claudio
2021-01-01

Abstract

Many theories have been put forward that propose that developmental dyslexia is caused by low-level neural, cognitive, or perceptual deficits. For example, statistical learning is a cognitive mechanism that allows the learner to detect a probabilistic pattern in a stream of stimuli and to generalise the knowledge of this pattern to similar stimuli. The link between statistical learning and reading ability is indirect, with intermediate skills, such as knowledge of frequently co-occurring letters, likely being causally dependent on statistical learning skills and, in turn, causing individual variation in reading ability. We discuss theoretical issues regarding what a link between statistical learning and reading ability actually means and review the evidence for such a deficit. We then describe and simulate the “noisy chain hypothesis”, where each intermediary link between a proposed cause and the end-state of reading ability reduces the correlation coefficient between the low-level deficit and the end-state outcome of reading. We draw the following conclusions: (1) Empirically, there is evidence for a correlation between statistical learning ability and reading ability, but there is no evidence to suggest that this relationship is causal, (2) theoretically, focussing on a complete causal chain between a distal cause and developmental dyslexia, rather than the two endpoints of the distal cause and reading ability only, is necessary for understanding the underlying processes, (3) statistically, the indirect nature of the link between statistical learning and reading ability means that the magnitude of the correlation is diluted by other influencing variables, yielding most studies to date underpowered, and (4) practically, it is unclear what can be gained from invoking the concept of statistical learning in teaching children to read.
2021
9
Schmalz, Xenia; Treccani, Barbara; Mulatti, Claudio
Developmental Dyslexia, Reading Acquisition, and Statistical Learning: A Sceptic’s Guide / Schmalz, Xenia; Treccani, Barbara; Mulatti, Claudio. - In: BRAIN SCIENCES. - ISSN 2076-3425. - ELETTRONICO. - 2021, 11:9(2021), pp. 1143.1-1143.19. [10.3390/brainsci11091143]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11572/315304
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