Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Research byte: Phonological awareness deficit related to math fact retrieval problems

DeSmedt, B., & Boets, B. (2010). Phonological processing and arithmetic fact retrieval: Evidence from developmental dyslexia. Neuropsychologia, 48(14), 3973-3981.


The triple-code model, cognitive neuroimaging and developmental behavioral data suggest a specific association between phonological processing and arithmetic fact retrieval. Accordingly, individuals with deficits in phonological processing, such as individuals with developmental dyslexia, are expected to show difficulties in arithmetic fact retrieval. The present study tested this proposal in 25 adults with developmental dyslexia and 25 matched controls by examining strategy use during single-digit multiplication and subtraction and its associations with phonological processing. Findings revealed that individuals with dyslexia retrieved fewer arithmetic facts from memory and were less efficient in doing so. At the same time, they showed deficits in phonological processing. Phonological processing, particularly phonological awareness, was related to arithmetic fact retrieval. This association was especially prominent in multiplication, indicating that fact retrieval in multiplication rather than subtraction is mediated by phonological processes. These data provide ground for future neuroimaging studies, who should examine the neural overlap between phonological processing and multiplication fact retrieval in the same sample of participants.

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