Rapid naming deficits in dyslexia: a stumbling block for the perceptual anchor theory of dyslexia


  • Di Filippo Gloria
  • Zoccolotti Pierluigi
  • Ziegler Johannes C.

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According to a recent theory of dyslexia, the perceptual anchor theory, children with dyslexia show deficits in classic auditory and phonological tasks not because they have auditory or phonological impairments but because they are unable to form a `perceptual anchor' in tasks that rely on a small set of repeated stimuli. The theory makes the strong prediction that rapid naming deficits should only be present in small sets of repeated items, not in large sets of unrepeated items. The present research tested this prediction by comparing rapid naming performance of a small set of repeated items with that of a large set of unrepeated items. The results were unequivocal. Deficits were found both for small and large sets of objects and numbers. The deficit was actually bigger for large sets than for small sets, which is the opposite of the prediction made by the anchor theory. In conclusion, the perceptual anchor theory does not provide a satisfactory account of some of the major hallmark effects of developmental dyslexia.

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