Annals of Dyslexia

, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 55–77 | Cite as

Artificial grammar learning in primary school children with and without developmental dyslexia

  • Elpis V. Pavlidou
  • Joanne M. Williams
  • Louise M. Kelly


This paper explores implicit learning in typically developing and primary school children (9–12 years old) with developmental dyslexia using an artificial grammar learning (AGL) task. Two experiments were conducted, which differed in time of presentation and nature of the instructional set (experiment 1—implicit instructions vs experiment 2—explicit instructions). Repeated measures analysis of variance (group × grammaticality × chunk strength) showed a group effect only in experiment 1 (implicit instructions), with only the typically developing children showing evidence of AGL. There was a grammaticality effect (adherence to the rules) for both groups in the two experimental situations. We suggest that the typically developing children exhibited intact implicit learning as manifested in AGL performance, whereas children with developmental dyslexia failed to provide such evidence due to possible mediating cognitive developmental factors.


Artificial grammar learning Children Developmental dyslexia Implicit learning 



Thank you to all of the children who took part in this study and the parents and teachers for their consent and cooperation. Special thanks go to Dr. Eleni Ziori for her scientific input in designing the study. This study was undertaken when the first author was in receipt of a scholarship from I.K.Y. (The Greek State Foundation for Scholarships).


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Copyright information

© The International Dyslexia Association 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elpis V. Pavlidou
    • 1
  • Joanne M. Williams
    • 2
  • Louise M. Kelly
    • 3
  1. 1.Moray House School of EducationUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK
  2. 2.Moray House School of EducationUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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