The purpose of this study was to examine different hypotheses in relation to RAN deficits in dyslexia. Thirty university students with dyslexia and 32 chronological-age controls were assessed on RAN Digits and Colors as well as on two versions of RAN Letters and Objects (one with five items repeated 16 times and one with 20 items repeated four times). In addition, participants were tested on discrete letter and object naming, phonological awareness, orthographic knowledge, and speed of processing, and the RAN Letters and Objects total times were partitioned into pause times and articulation times. Results showed first that the dyslexia group was slower than the control group on all RAN tasks and the differences remained significant after controlling for discrete naming time. Second, both groups were slower in the large item set condition (20 × 4) than in the small set condition (5 × 16). Third, the dyslexia group was slower than the control group in both the pause and the articulation times. Although none of the processing skills was sufficient on its own to eliminate group differences in RAN Letters components, phonological awareness, and orthographic processing were sufficient on their own to eliminate group differences in the RAN Objects pause time. Taken together, our findings suggest that the deficits in RAN are not due to impaired anchoring, but rather due to subtle impairments in lexical access (specific to alphanumeric RAN), serial processing, and articulation.
- cascaded processing hypothesis
- lexical access
- perceptual anchoring theory
- rapid automatized naming