Annals of Dyslexia

, Volume 67, Issue 2, pp 147–162 | Cite as

Statistical learning and dyslexia: a systematic review

  • Xenia SchmalzEmail author
  • Gianmarco Altoè
  • Claudio Mulatti


The existing literature on developmental dyslexia (hereafter: dyslexia) often focuses on isolating cognitive skills which differ across dyslexic and control participants. Among potential correlates, previous research has studied group differences between dyslexic and control participants in performance on statistical learning tasks. A statistical learning deficit has been proposed to be a potential cause and/or a marker effect for early detection of dyslexia. It is therefore of practical importance to evaluate the evidence for a group difference. From a theoretical perspective, such a group difference would provide information about the causal chain from statistical learning to reading acquisition. We provide a systematic review of the literature on such a group difference. We conclude that there is insufficient high-quality data to draw conclusions about the presence or absence of an effect.


Deficit Implicit learning Publication bias Theories of dyslexia 



We would like to thank Nic Badcock and Robert Ross for discussions about meta-analyses, and Robert Ross, Anne Castles, and Max Coltheart for helpful comments on earlier versions of this manuscript. We are further grateful to all authors who replied to our queries. This project was supported by a post-doctoral grant to XS by the Fondazione Marica De Vicenzi and Università degli Studi di Padova.


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Copyright information

© The International Dyslexia Association 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xenia Schmalz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gianmarco Altoè
    • 1
  • Claudio Mulatti
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Psicologia dello Sviluppo e della SocializzazioneUniversità degli Studi di PadovaPadovaItaly

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