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Implicit learning, bilingualism, and dyslexia: insights from a study assessing AGL with a modified Simon task

Vender, M., Krivochen, D. G., Phillips, B., Saddy, D. ORCID: and Delfitto, D. (2019) Implicit learning, bilingualism, and dyslexia: insights from a study assessing AGL with a modified Simon task. Frontiers in Psychology, 10. 1647. ISSN 1664-1078

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01647


This paper presents an experimental study investigating artificial grammar learning in monolingual and bilingual children, with and without dyslexia, using an original methodology. We administered a serial reaction time task, in the form of a modified Simon task, in which the sequence of the stimuli was manipulated according to the rules of a simple Lindenmayer grammar (more specifically, a Fibonacci grammar). By ensuring that the subjects focused on the correct response execution at the motor stage in presence of congruent or incongruent visual stimuli, we could meet the two fundamental criteria for implicit learning: the absence of an intention to learn and the lack of awareness at the level of resulting knowledge. The participants of our studies were four groups of 10-year-old children: 30 Italian monolingual typically developing children, 30 bilingual typically developing children with Italian L2, 24 Italian monolingual dyslexic children, and 24 bilingual dyslexic children with Italian L2. Participants were administered the modified Simon task developed according to the rules of the Fibonacci grammar and tested with respect to the implicit learning of three regularities: (i) a red is followed by a blue, (ii) a sequence of two blues is followed by a red, and (iii) a blue can be followed either by a red or by a blue. Results clearly support the hypothesis that learning took place, since participants of all groups became increasingly sensitive to the structure of the input, implicitly learning the sequence of the trials and thus appropriately predicting the occurrence of the relevant items, as manifested by faster reaction times in predictable trials. Moreover, group differences were found, with bilinguals being overall faster than monolinguals and dyslexics less accurate than controls. Finally, an advantage of bilingualism in dyslexia was found, with bilingual dyslexics performing consistently better than monolingual dyslexics and, in some conditions, at the level of the two control groups. These results are taken to suggest that bilingualism should be supported also among linguistically impaired individuals.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN)
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Clinical Language Sciences
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Language and Cognition
ID Code:85397
Publisher:Frontiers Media


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