Reading and lexical-decision tasks generate different patterns of individual variability as a function of condition difficulty

Pierluigi Zoccolotti, Maria de Luca, Gloria Di Filippo, Chiara Valeria Marinelli, Donatella Spinelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We reanalyzed previous experiments based on lexical-decision and reading-aloud tasks in children with dyslexia and control children and tested the prediction of the difference engine model (DEM) that mean condition reaction times (RTs) and standard deviations (SDs) would be linearly related (Myerson et al., 2003). Then we evaluated the slope and the intercept with the x-axis of these linear functions in comparison with previously reported values (i.e., slope of about 0.30 and intercept of about 300 ms). In the case of lexical decision, the parameters were close to these values; by contrast, in the case of reading aloud, a much steeper slope (0.66) and a greater intercept (482.6 ms) were found. Therefore, interindividual variability grows at a much faster rate as a function of condition difficulty for reading than for lexical-decision tasks (or for other tasks reported in the literature). According to the DEM, the slope of the regression that relates means and SDs indicates the degree of correlation among the durations of the stages of processing. We propose that the need for a close coupling between orthographic and phonological processing in reading is what drives the particularly strong relationship between performance and interindividual variability that we observed in reading tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jun 9 2017

Keywords

  • Difference engine model
  • Dyslexia
  • Reading
  • Vocal reaction time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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