Developmental Science

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Volume 21 Issue 2 (March 2018), Pages

The procedural learning deficit hypothesis of language learning disorders: we see some problems

Abstract

Impaired procedural learning has been suggested as a possible cause of developmental dyslexia (DD) and specific language impairment (SLI). This study examined the relationship between measures of verbal and non‐verbal implicit and explicit learning and measures of language, literacy and arithmetic attainment in a large sample of 7 to 8‐year‐old children. Measures of verbal explicit learning were correlated with measures of attainment. In contrast, no relationships between measures of implicit learning and attainment were found. Critically, the reliability of the implicit learning tasks was poor. Our results show that measures of procedural learning, as currently used, are typically unreliable and insensitive to individual differences. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnvV-BvNWSo

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