Problems with visual statistical learning in developmental dyslexia

Heida Maria Sigurdardottir, Hilda Björk Daníelsdóttir, Margrét Guðmundsdóttir, Kristján Helgi Hjartarson, Elín Ástrós Þórarinsdóttir, Arni Kristjansson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Previous research shows that dyslexic readers are impaired in their recognition of faces and other complex objects, and show hypoactivation in ventral visual stream regions that support word and object recognition. Responses of these brain regions are shaped by visual statistical learning. If such learning is compromised, people should be less sensitive to statistically likely feature combinations in words and other objects, and impaired visual word and object recognition should be expected. We therefore tested whether people with dyslexia showed diminished capability for visual statistical learning. Matched dyslexic and typical readers participated in tests of visual statistical learning of pairs of novel shapes that frequently appeared together. Dyslexic readers on average recognized fewer pairs than typical readers, indicating some problems with visual statistical learning. These group differences were not accounted for by differences in intelligence, ability to remember individual shapes, or spatial attention paid to the stimuli, but other attentional problems could play a mediating role. Deficiencies in visual statistical learning may in some cases prevent appropriate experience-driven shaping of neuronal responses in the ventral visual stream, hampering visual word and object recognition.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages606
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2017

Other keywords

  • Human behaviour
  • Learning and memory
  • Object vision
  • Lesblinda
  • Minni


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