Bar Ilan Linguistics Colloquium - Yafit Gabay,Haifa University

23/06/2015 - 14:00 - 16:00

Yafit Gabay

Haifa University


Topic and abstract

The involvement of procedural learning in developmental dyslexia

The underlying biological and cognitive causes of developmental dyslexia remain under extensvie debate despite decades of research.  Although the emphasis has been on phonological deficits (i.e., in use of speech building blocks like [b] vs. [p] in bat vs. pat), there is growing evidence of more general procedural learning impairments in dyslexia. It is not yet known how procedural learning deficits might relate to phonological deficits; existing accounts emphasize motor and skill-acquisition functions associated with procedural learning systems. However, the neural learning systems thought to contribute to procedural learning have diverse nonmotor roles, including involvement in acquiring perceptual categories. Intriguingly, perceptual category learning is highly significant in the development of robsut speech representations to support phonological processing. In this talk I will describe a series of studies examining procedural learning mechanisms in individuals with dyslexia. Specifically, I will show that critical aspects important for phonetic category learning such as segmentation and categorization are impaired in dyslexia and thus could affect the acquisition of phonological representations. Whereas phonological processing impairments have been emphasized as the cause of dyslexia, the current approach suggest that learning perceptual representations through procedural learning is impaired in dyslexia and could contribute to phonological deficits with subsequent negative effects on language acquisition and reading. I will end the talk by presenting a novel learning paradigm that informs phonetic category learning and can be implemented in dyslexia research, describing future research directions.

Bldg. 404 Room 112