Writing errors by normal subjects

Rita Moretti, Rodolfo M. Antonello, Giuseppe Cazzato, Paula Torre, Franco Fabbro, Antonio Bava

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Writing is a complex process requiring visual memory, attention, phonological and semantic operations, and motor performance, For that reason, it can easily be disturbed by interfering with attention, memory, by interfering subvocalization, and so on. With 16 female third-year students (23.4 ± 0.8 yr.) from the University of Trieste, we investigated the production of errors in three experimental conditions (control, articulatory suppression, and tapping). In the articulatory suppression condition, the participants produced significantly more linguistic impairments (such as agrammatism, unrelated substitutions, sentence omissions, and semantically deviant sentences), which are similar to linguistic impairments found in aphasia. On the tapping condition there were more perseverations, deletions, and substitutions of both letters and words. These data suggest that writing is not an automatic skill. Only after many years of experience and practice of processing information (through cortical to subcortical channels) can writing be considered an automatic skill. Limited experimental conditions can disrupt the writing system of normal subjects, probably interfering with the cortical to subcortical loops, and link normality to pathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-229
Number of pages15
JournalPerceptual and Motor Skills
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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