Linking memory and language: Evidence for a serial-order learning impairment in dyslexia

Louisa Bogaerts*, Arnaud Szmalec, Wibke M. Hachmann, Mike P.A. Page, Wouter Duyck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The present study investigated long-term serial-order learning impairments, operationalized as reduced Hebb repetition learning (HRL), in people with dyslexia. In a first multi-session experiment, we investigated both the persistence of a serial-order learning impairment as well as the long-term retention of serial-order representations, both in a group of Dutch-speaking adults with developmental dyslexia and in a matched control group. In a second experiment, we relied on the assumption that HRL mimics naturalistic word-form acquisition and we investigated the lexicalization of novel word-forms acquired through HRL. First, our results demonstrate that adults with dyslexia are fundamentally impaired in the long-term acquisition of serial-order information. Second, dyslexic and control participants show comparable retention of the long-term serial-order representations in memory over a period of 1 month. Third, the data suggest weaker lexicalization of newly acquired word-forms in the dyslexic group. We discuss the integration of these findings into current theoretical views of dyslexia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-122
Number of pages17
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Dyslexia
  • Language acquisition
  • Memory
  • Retention
  • Serial-order learning


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