Authors: Elizabeth A. Attree, Mark. J. Turner, and Naina Cowell.

Article: A Virtual Reality Test Identifies the Visuospatial Strengths of Adolescents with Dyslexia.

Publication: CyberPsychology & Behavior (Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.). VOL. 12, NO. 2 | Published Online: 10 Apr 2009 2009 | DOI: 10.1089/cpb.2008.0204

Research suggests that the deficits characterizing dyslexia may also be associated with superior visuospatial abilities. Other research suggests that superior visuospatial abilities of people with dyslexia may not have been so far identified because of the lack of appropriate tests of real-life spatial ability. A recent small-scale study found that visuospatial superiority was evident in men with dyslexia. This study assessed the visuospatial ability of adolescents with dyslexia in order to determine whether these adolescents performed better on a pseudo real-life visuospatial test than did their nondyslexic peers. Forty-two adolescents took part in the study. There was an equal numerical split between the experimental and control groups. The experimental group all had a diagnosis of dyslexia by an educational psychologist or specialist teacher. Visuospatial ability was assessed using the Recall of Designs and the Pattern Construction subtests from the British Ability Scales (2nd edition; BAS-11) together with a computer-generated virtual environment test. The assessments were administered in a counterbalanced order. Adolescents with dyslexia tended to perform less well than their nondyslexic peers on the BAS-11 tests; however, this difference was not statistically significant. For the computer-generated virtual environment test (pseudo real-life measure), statistically significant higher scores were achieved by the dyslexic group. These findings suggest that adolescents with dyslexia may exhibit superior visuospatial strengths on certain pseudo real-life tests of spatial ability. The usefulness of these findings is discussed in relation to possible implications for assessment and educational intervention programs for adolescents with dyslexia.

Tagged as: dyslexic strengths, dyslexic talents, and visual-spatial skills


Attree, E. A., Turner, M. J., & Cowell, N. (2009). A virtual reality test identifies the visuospatial strengths of adolescents with dyslexia. Cyberpsychology & behavior : the impact of the Internet, multimedia and virtual reality on behavior and society, 12(2), 163–168.

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