Separating global and specific factors in developmental dyslexia

Gloria Di Filippo, Pierluigi Zoccolotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The general goal of the study was to identify global and specific components in developmental dyslexia using various manipulations based on the rapid automatization paradigm (RAN). In two experiments, we used both factor analysis and the Rate-and-Amount Model to verify if one (or more) global factor(s) and a variety of specific effects contribute to the naming (and visual search) deficits in children with dyslexia. Results of Experiment 1 indicated the presence of three global components: pictorial naming, detailed orthographic analysis, and visual search. Pictorial naming is predicated by typical RAN tasks (such as naming colors or objects), independent of set size, but also from a variety of other tasks including Stroop interference conditions. The detailed orthographic analysis factor accounts for naming of orthographic stimuli at high set size. Visual search marked tasks requiring the scanning of visual targets. Results of Experiment 2 confirmed the separation between the pictorial naming and detailed orthographic analysis factors both in the original sample and in a new group of children. Furthermore, specific effects of frequency, lexicality, and length were shown to contribute to the reading deficit. Overall, it is proposed that focusing on the profile of both global and specific effects provides a more effective and, at the same time, simpler account of the dyslexics' impairment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-391
Number of pages36
JournalChild Neuropsychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2012


  • Dyslexia
  • Global factor
  • Rate-amount model
  • Reading disability
  • Visual search

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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