We report the results of a systematic review and meta-analysis investigating the relationship between perceptual anchoring and dyslexia. Our goal was to assess the direction and degree of effect between perceptual anchoring and reading ability in typical and atypical (dyslexic) readers. We performed a literature search of experiments explicitly assessing perceptual anchoring and reading ability using PsycInfo (Ovid, 1860 to 2020), MEDLINE (Ovid, 1860 to 2019), EMBASE (Ovid, 1883 to 2019), and PubMed for all available years up to June (2020). Our eligibility criteria consisted of English-language articles and, at minimum, one experimental group identified as dyslexic – either by reading assessment at the time, or by previous diagnosis. We assessed for risk of bias using an adapted version of the Newcastle-Ottawa scale. Six studies were included in this review, but only five (n = 280 participants) were included in the meta-analysis (we were unable to access the necessary data for one study).The overall effect was negative, large and statistically significant; g = -0.87, 95% CI [-1.47, 0.27]: a negative effect size indicating less perceptual anchoring in dyslexic versus non-dyslexic groups. Visual assessment of funnel plot and Egger’s test suggest minimal bias but with significant heterogeneity; Q (4) = 9.70, PI (prediction interval) [-2.32, -0.58]. The primary limitation of the current review is the small number of included studies. We discuss methodological limitations, such as limited power, and how future research may redress these concerns. The variability of effect sizes appears consistent with the inherent variability within subtypes of dyslexia. This level of dispersion seems indicative of how we define cut-off thresholds between typical reading and dyslexia populations, but also the methodological tools we use to investigate individual performance.

Tagged as: meta-analysis, perception, and perceptual anchoring


Shulver, K. D., & Badcock, N. A. (2020, September 2). Chasing the Anchor: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Perceptual Anchoring Deficits in Developmental Dyslexia.

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