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Poster D156

Visuospatial processing, memory, and reasoning in poor readers

Poster Session D - Monday, April 15, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Zahra Kheradmandsaadi1, Hee Yeon Im1, Deborah Giaschi1; 1The University of British Columbia

In addition to reading difficulty, developmental dyslexia is associated with impairments in phonological processing, perception, attention, executive function, reasoning, and memory. To compensate for verbal and language problems, a reliance on visuospatial abilities has been suggested but not sufficiently explored. However, dysfunction in brain regions mediating visuospatial processing has been reported in dyslexia. Therefore, we hypothesize that both visuospatial and verbal cognitive abilities are impaired in dyslexia. These deficits may also be evident in the strategies used to complete cognitive tasks. We tested 14 typical readers and 9 poor readers (age 14-17 years) with good vision. The Cambridge Brain Sciences Cognitive Platform was used to assess six cognitive functions: visuospatial processing, reasoning, short-term and working memory; verbal reasoning and short-term memory. Participants also reported their strategies used to complete each task (categorized as verbal or visual). Raw test scores were converted to z-scores based on age-adjusted norms. Poor readers performed significantly worse than typical readers across all tasks, particularly visuospatial memory. In controls, better performance on verbal and visuospatial reasoning was associated with better visuospatial processing and working memory, respectively. The inverse relationship was found for poor readers. No group differences were evident in the strategies used. Our results confirm the impairment of both verbal and visuospatial cognitive abilities in adolescent poor readers. Contrary to previous reports, no evidence was found for reliance on visuospatial strategies in poor readers. Poorer reasoning ability with better visuospatial processing and memory in poor readers may suggest a maladaptive compensatory reliance on visuospatial mechanisms.

Topic Area: THINKING: Development & aging


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