Visuospatial memory in dyslexia: evidence for strategic deficits.
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Impairments in working memory are suggested to be one of the defining characteristics of dyslexia, and deficits in verbal recall are well documented. However, the situation regarding visuospatial memory is less clear. In a widely used measure, the Corsi blocks task, sequences of visuospatial locations can be recalled forwards, in the order presented (CF), or backwards, in reverse order (CB). Previous research has suggested that, while CF draws on spatial-sequential resources, CB may load executive and distinctly visual processes. While people with dyslexia typically show no deficit on CF, CB is rarely presented. We present three studies which indicate a consistent dyslexic deficit on CB that can be ameliorated by visual strategy instructions. Our data suggest that, without instruction, people with dyslexia are unable to adopt an effective CB strategy and this is consistent with a deficit in executive function. These results have implications for our understanding of visuospatial memory in dyslexia, and also in terms of the administration of the Corsi task to special populations.
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