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Disentangling Dyslexia

Phonological and Processing Deficit in Developmental Dyslexia


Maria Vender

Beyond the well-known reading and spelling difficulties, dyslexic individuals exhibit marked phonological disorders, poor lexical retrieval and problems in the comprehension and production of grammatical structures that are particularly expensive in terms of processing costs. To account for these difficulties, the author presents an original hypothesis, proposing that dyslexia is related to a working memory inefficiency, affecting in particular the subject’s phonological skills and executive functions. The results of four experimental protocols, assessing dyslexic children’s working memory and their ability to interpret scalar implicatures, negative sentences and pronominal expressions, are presented and discussed in this volume. Consistent with the hypothesis outlined in this book, the results of the four studies show that dyslexics underperformed in comparison to age-matched controls and even to younger children in tasks requiring good phonological and processing abilities.

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Chapter 5. The Computation of Scalar Implicatures in Developmental Dyslexia


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Chapter 5

The Computation of Scalar Implicatures in Developmental Dyslexia

1.     Introduction

In this chapter I will present and discuss the results of an experimental protocol that I performed to test how dyslexic children interpret sentences involving the computation of a scalar implicature. As we will observe in the first sections of this chapter, supporters of the Pragmatic Approach to the computation of implicatures have argued that drawing a scalar inference is a costly operation, very demanding in terms of processing resources. Assessing the computation of scalar implicatures in dyslexic children, therefore, can be useful to test the Phonological and Executive Working Memory Deficit Hypothesis, under the proposal that dyslexics’ difficulties are caused by a processing limitation hampering their performance in complex and demanding tasks.

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