Visual-spatial strength in dyslexia: rapid discrimination of impossible figures

J Learn Disabil. 2001 Jul-Aug;34(4):380-91. doi: 10.1177/002221940103400413.


It has often been conjectured that visual-spatial talents accompany dyslexia. But do individuals with dyslexia have unusual visual-spatial talents? Individuals with dyslexia were compared to controls on two computer-based visual-spatial tasks in two studies. In accordance with a diverging ability hypothesis, it was predicted that the dyslexia group would perform better on a global task, identifying impossible figures, and worse on a feature-oriented task, matching figures. These hypotheses were partially supported. On the global task, the dyslexia group was faster but no more accurate than the control group at identifying impossible objects. On the feature-oriented task, the control group outperformed the dyslexia group. The results indicate that the diverging ability hypothesis of dyslexia merits further investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aptitude
  • Attention
  • Depth Perception*
  • Discrimination Learning*
  • Dyslexia / diagnosis*
  • Dyslexia / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Optical Illusions*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual*
  • Reaction Time*