Implicit learning deficit in children with developmental dyslexia

Neuropsychologia. 2003;41(1):108-14. doi: 10.1016/s0028-3932(02)00082-9.


Several neuropsychological deficits have been reported as characteristic of the cognitive profile of dyslexic children. Phonological and visual processing are often impaired as well as auditory processing, attention and information processing speed. We investigated whether implicit learning, is impaired in dyslexic children and adolescents. Tests of implicit and declarative learning were administered to 18 clinically defined dyslexics and 18 similar age controls. Dyslexics showed a reduced learning rate in the implicit but not in the declarative task, suggesting a specific deficit of implicit learning. Although alternative hypothesis cannot be ruled out, considering that implicit learning is a cognitive function primarily processed by the cerebellum and that recent neurological and physiological data suggest a cerebellar dysfunction in dyslexia, the present results suggest an impairment of cerebellar system in reading disabilities.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child
  • Dyslexia / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning Disabilities / etiology*
  • Male
  • Matched-Pair Analysis
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Reaction Time