Kanji Writing Acquisition Through Sequential Stimulus Pairing in Japanese Students with Writing Difficulties

Original Article


In Japan, both typically developing students and students with developmental disabilities often exhibit difficulties with Kanji (Japanese ideogram) writing. These students sometimes demonstrate mirror writing (retrography), suggesting that they have difficulty in locating the parts of Kanji words rather than in writing itself. We examined whether five students with writing difficulties could learn and maintain the stimulus relations among Kanji words, spoken sounds, and corresponding pictures required for writing skills by using two types of pairing procedures: sequential stimulus pairing (SSP) and stimulus pairing (SP). In the SSP procedure, one of the two parts of a Kanji word was presented on the one side of a display, and the other part was sequentially presented on the other side, prior to presentation of the whole Kanji word. In the SP procedure, the whole Kanji word and its spoken sound were presented first, followed by its corresponding picture. The effects of training, as measured by writing performance and the number of training blocks to meet a mastery criterion, were evaluated by means of binominal tests and analysis of variance. The results showed that all students learned to correctly write Kanji words using both procedures, although the SSP procedure required fewer training blocks and enabled students to maintain their knowledge longer. These results suggest that presenting the parts of a stimulus sequentially in their correct spatial location made it easier to observe the Kanji stimuli and might therefore facilitate the acquisition of Kanji writing skills.


Stimulus pairing procedure Sequential stimulus pairing procedure Stimulus relations Kanji writing Writing difficulties 



The data in this paper were previously presented as part of dissertation of the first author, written in Japanese.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Institutional Review Board of the Faculty of Letters of Keio University and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants in the study and their parents.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Graduate School of Human RelationsKeio UniversityTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, Faculty of Humanities and Social SciencesShowa Women’s UniversityTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Department of Psychology, Faculty of LettersKeio UniversityTokyoJapan

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