we would like to invite you to upcoming Brain Imaging Meeting organized by Laboratory of Brain Imaging (LOBI) and Laboratory of Language Neurobiology (LLN). The seminar will take place on Wednesday Feb. 3, 2021 at 2.30 PM, via google meet platform under the link: https://meet.google.com/jgm-qefb-mre
During the meeting Marta Wójcik, MA Ph.D. Student - Laboratory of Language Neurobiology Nencki will present a talk entitled: "Relation between implicit learning and literacy skills"
According to the cerebellar deficit hypothesis (Nicolson, Fawcett & Dean, 2001) impairments in cerebellum and cerebellar loops lead to decreased literacy skills (both reading and spelling). Interestingly, spelling deficit is described as due to the non-linguistic cognitive source: reduced automatisation, which also indirectly affects reading skills. Automatisation is often a part of implicit learning experiments, where participants react to the stimuli appearing on the screen in a set of hidden sequences and they become faster with each repetition (uknowingly automatizing their movements). In dyslexia there’s a well-established implicit learning deficit. However, it’s not clear if the obtained results are spelling- or reading-dependent since dyslexia is often defined as combined reading and spelling impairment. Therefore we wanted to investigate the relationship between literacy skills and automatisation, in particular: a hypothesized direct route between spelling and automatisation. Three groups of children (N = 114, aged 8-12) took part in the experiment: control, developmental dyslexia (combined reading and spelling impairment) and isolated spelling deficit. Children were asked to click the corresponding button to the stimuli on the screen as fast as possible. During fMRI task we gathered data from brain areas crucial for learning (e.g. SMA, cerebellum) and measured reaction times (RT). In line with previous research we observed an implicit learning deficit in dyslexic children. Yet, both control and isolated spelling deficit groups obtained similar results indicating learning effects. Main effect in brain activations was found in SMA only in the early stages of experiment. Further analyses revealed crucial role of pre-SMA in learning motor sequences in opposition to SMA-proper responsible for movement execution. We found that children with isolated spelling deficit resemble more typical readers and spellers than dyslexic peers. Thus, automatisation deficit is not spelling-dependent. Nevertheless, we propose an explanation in line with cerebellar deficit hypothesis: we consider pre-SMA as an initial part of a learning loop connecting with cerebellum at final stages when sequences are best learnt. Perhaps longer experiment would have exposed within-groups differences in cerebellum.
See you there!
Brain Imaging Meeting Team