Authors: Susana Araújo, Luís Faísca, Inês Bramão, Karl Magnus Petersson, Alexandra Reis.

Article: Lexical and Phonological Processes in Dyslexic Readers: Evidence from a Visual Lexical Decision Task.

Publication: Dyslexia (Wiley). Feb;20(1):38-53 2014 | DOI: 10.1002/dys.1461

[Full Text]


The aim of the present study was to investigate whether reading failure in the context of an orthography of intermediate consistency is linked to inefficient use of the lexical orthographic reading procedure. The performance of typically developing and dyslexic Portuguese‐speaking children was examined in a lexical decision task, where the stimulus lexicality, word frequency and length were manipulated. Both lexicality and length effects were larger in the dyslexic group than in controls, although the interaction between group and frequency disappeared when the data were transformed to control for general performance factors. Children with dyslexia were influenced in lexical decision making by the stimulus length of words and pseudowords, whereas age‐matched controls were influenced by the length of pseudowords only. These findings suggest that non‐impaired readers rely mainly on lexical orthographic information, but children with dyslexia preferentially use the phonological decoding procedure—albeit poorly—most likely because they struggle to process orthographic inputs as a whole such as controls do. Accordingly, dyslexic children showed significantly poorer performance than controls for all types of stimuli, including words that could be considered over‐learned, such as high‐frequency words. This suggests that their orthographic lexical entries are less established in the orthographic lexicon.

Tagged as: orthographic processing


Araújo S, Faísca L, Bramão I, Petersson KM, Reis A. Lexical and phonological processes in dyslexic readers: evidence from a visual lexical decision task. Dyslexia (Chichester, England). 2014 Feb;20(1):38-53. DOI: 10.1002/dys.1461.

Excerpts from Full Text / Notes:
To what extent the inefficiency of the lexical orthographic routine has a phonological locus is unclear. According to the self-teaching hypothesis(Share, 1995), the sublexical procedure is the bootstrapping procedure upon which lexical reading develops, which implies that a lexical deficit would only be a consequence of a phonological/decoding problem. Notwithstanding this possibility, we believe that some results in this study suggest that the nature of lexical orthographic problems in an intermediate orthography such as Portuguese is more complicated.
A possible explanation is that children with DYS predominantly adopt a decoding strategy, despite their lack of accurate phonological knowledge, likely because they cannot rely on an efficient lexical orthographic procedure. Thus, in an intermediate orthography, both lexical and sublexical procedures seem not to work normally in DYS….

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