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      Prediction of Chinese Reading Fluency by Verbal and Non-verbal Visual Attention Span Measures


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          This study explored (1) the relationship between verbal and non-verbal visual attention span measures and (2) the relationship between visual attention span and reading fluency in traditional Chinese, among 101 university students in Hong Kong. The participants’ visual attention span was assessed using verbal measures (i.e., a global report task and a partial report task) and non-verbal measures (i.e., visual 1-back task with Chinese characters and visual 1-back task with symbols). The results of the confirmatory factor analysis indicated that the single latent factor model, composed of the global report task, the partial report task, the visual 1-back task with Chinese characters, and the visual 1-back task with symbols, was a good fit for the data. The results of the regression analysis showed that the global report task significantly predicted traditional Chinese reading fluency. Structural equation modeling revealed a significant predictive relationship between the single latent factor composed of verbal and non-verbal visual attention span measures and traditional Chinese reading fluency. Overall, the results indicate that visual attention span contributes to reading fluency in traditional Chinese.

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          Most cited references 44

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          Developmental dyslexia: the visual attention span deficit hypothesis.

          The visual attention (VA) span is defined as the amount of distinct visual elements which can be processed in parallel in a multi-element array. Both recent empirical data and theoretical accounts suggest that a VA span deficit might contribute to developmental dyslexia, independently of a phonological disorder. In this study, this hypothesis was assessed in two large samples of French and British dyslexic children whose performance was compared to that of chronological-age matched control children. Results of the French study show that the VA span capacities account for a substantial amount of unique variance in reading, as do phonological skills. The British study replicates this finding and further reveals that the contribution of the VA span to reading performance remains even after controlling IQ, verbal fluency, vocabulary and single letter identification skills, in addition to phoneme awareness. In both studies, most dyslexic children exhibit a selective phonological or VA span disorder. Overall, these findings support a multi-factorial view of developmental dyslexia. In many cases, developmental reading disorders do not seem to be due to phonological disorders. We propose that a VA span deficit is a likely alternative underlying cognitive deficit in dyslexia.
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            The visual attention span deficit in dyslexia is visual and not verbal.

            The visual attention (VA) span deficit hypothesis of dyslexia posits that letter string deficits are a consequence of impaired visual processing. Alternatively, some have interpreted this deficit as resulting from a visual-to-phonology code mapping impairment. This study aims to disambiguate between the two interpretations by investigating performance in a non-verbal character string visual categorization task with verbal and non-verbal stimuli. Results show that VA span ability predicts performance for the non-verbal visual processing task in normal reading children. Furthermore, VA span impaired dyslexic children are also impaired for the categorization task independently of stimuli type. This supports the hypothesis that the underlying impairment responsible for the VA span deficit is visual, not verbal. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Srl. All rights reserved.
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              Rapid processing of letters, digits and symbols: what purely visual-attentional deficit in developmental dyslexia?

              Visual-attentional theories of dyslexia predict deficits for dyslexic children not only for the perception of letter strings but also for non-alphanumeric symbol strings. This prediction was tested in a two-alternative forced-choice paradigm with letters, digits, and symbols. Children with dyslexia showed significant deficits for letter and digit strings but not for symbol strings. This finding is difficult to explain for visual-attentional theories of dyslexia which postulate identical deficits for letters, digits and symbols. Moreover, dyslexics showed normal W-shaped serial position functions for letter and digit strings, which suggests that their deficit is not due to an abnormally small attentional window. Finally, the size of the deficit was identical for letters and digits, which suggests that poor letter perception is not just a consequence of the lack of reading. Together then, our results show that symbols that map onto phonological codes are impaired (i.e. letters and digits), whereas symbols that do not map onto phonological codes are not impaired. This dissociation suggests that impaired symbol-sound mapping rather than impaired visual-attentional processing is the key to understanding dyslexia.

                Author and article information

                Front Psychol
                Front Psychol
                Front. Psychol.
                Frontiers in Psychology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                04 February 2020
                : 10
                Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong , Pokfulam, Hong Kong
                Author notes

                Edited by: Pietro Spataro, Universitas Mercatorum, Italy

                Reviewed by: Jing Zhao, Capital Normal University, China; Alexia Antzaka, Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language, Spain

                *Correspondence: Kevin Shing-Chi Chan, kevinsc@ 123456connect.hku.hk

                This article was submitted to Cognition, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology

                Copyright © 2020 Chan and Yeung.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 7, Tables: 5, Equations: 0, References: 52, Pages: 13, Words: 0
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