The associations between visual spatial attention, holistic processing and reading abilities in Chinese adolescents with and without dyslexia

Ricky Van Yip TSO, Ronald Tsz-chung CHAN, Janet Hui-wen HSIAO, Chin-Wai KWOK, Dan LIN, Duo LIU

Research output: Other contributionOther contributions

Abstract

Purpose: Visual spatial attention is shown to have an important influence on reading abilities, yet few studies have looked into its influence on reading in non-alphabetic languages such as Chinese. A few recent studies showed that visuo-spatial skills may predict reading abilities in Chinese, yet studies on that in students with dyslexia, particularly in high school, are still scarce. Hence, here we investigate visual-spatial attention in Chinese adolescents with and without dyslexia.

Method: 44 high-school students (22 diagnosed with dyslexia) were recruited for this study. To measure visual‐spatial attention, two tests were used: 1) Posner's spatial cueing task to measure their exogenous and endogenous orienting of visual attention, and 2) the Complete Composite Paradigm — an experimental design that typically demonstrates holistic processing in face perception — to measure holistic processing in Chinese character recognition.

Results: Compared with typically developing students, Chinese high-school students with dyslexia had persistent deficit in endogenous and exogenous visual-spatial attention as measured by the Posner’s task. Students with dyslexia also perceived Chinese characters more holistically than their typically developing controls, suggesting that they were less able to selectively attend to individual components within Chinese characters.

Conclusions: While typical Chinese literates in high schools can flexibly attend to individual parts within a Chinese character, those with dyslexia tended to perceive characters as a whole unit. This result may be related to irregularities in visual spatial attention skills in students with dyslexia. This study provides implications for reading intervention programs to enhance visual spatial attention in order to facilitate selective attention to character components. Copyright © 2019 Society for the Scientific Study of Reading (SSSR).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019

Citation

Tso, R. V.-Y., Chan, R. T.-C., Hsiao, J. H.-W., Kwok, C.-W., Lin, D., & Liu, D. (2019, July). The associations between visual spatial attention, holistic processing and reading abilities in Chinese adolescents with and without dyslexia. Poster presented at Twenty-Fifth Annual Society for the Scientific Study of Reading (SSSR) Meeting, Toronto, Canada.

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