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Syntactic ambiguity resolution in dyslexia: An examination of cognitive factors underlying eye movement differences and comprehension failures.

Authors
  • Stella, Marianna1
  • Engelhardt, Paul E1
  • 1 School of Psychology, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Dyslexia (Chichester, England)
Publication Date
May 01, 2019
Volume
25
Issue
2
Pages
115–141
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1002/dys.1613
PMID: 30990960
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

This study examined eye movements and comprehension of temporary syntactic ambiguities in individuals with dyslexia, as few studies have focused on sentence-level comprehension in dyslexia. We tested 50 participants with dyslexia and 50 typically developing controls, in order to investigate (a) whether dyslexics have difficulty revising temporary syntactic misinterpretations and (b) underlying cognitive factors (i.e., working memory and processing speed) associated with eye movement differences and comprehension failures. In the sentence comprehension task, participants read subordinate-main structures that were either ambiguous or unambiguous, and we also manipulated the type of verb contained in the subordinate clause (i.e., reflexive or optionally transitive). Results showed a main effect of group on comprehension, in which individuals with dyslexia showed poorer comprehension than typically developing readers. In addition, participants with dyslexia showed longer total reading times on the disambiguating region of syntactically ambiguous sentences. With respect to cognitive factors, working memory was more associated with group differences than was processing speed. Conclusions focus on sentence-level syntactic processing issues in dyslexia (a previously under-researched area) and the relationship between online and offline measures of syntactic ambiguity resolution. © 2019 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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