A perceptual learning deficit in Chinese developmental dyslexia as revealed by visual texture discrimination training

Zhengke Wang, Alice Cheng-Lai, Yan Song, Laurie Cutting, Yuzheng Jiang, Ou Lin, Xiangzhi Meng, Xiaolin Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Learning to read involves discriminating between different written forms and establishing connections with phonology and semantics. This process may be partially built upon visual perceptual learning, during which the ability to process the attributes of visual stimuli progressively improves with practice. The present study investigated to what extent Chinese children with developmental dyslexia have deficits in perceptual learning by using a texture discrimination task, in which participants were asked to discriminate the orientation of target bars. Experiment l demonstrated that, when all of the participants started with the same initial stimulus-to-mask onset asynchrony (SOA) at 300ms, the threshold SOA, adjusted according to response accuracy for reaching 80% accuracy, did not show a decrement over 5days of training for children with dyslexia, whereas this threshold SOA steadily decreased over the training for the control group. Experiment 2 used an adaptive procedure to determine the threshold SOA for each participant during training. Results showed that both the group of dyslexia and the control group attained perceptual learning over the sessions in 5days, although the threshold SOAs were significantly higher for the group of dyslexia than for the control group; moreover, over individual participants, the threshold SOA negatively correlated with their performance in Chinese character recognition. These findings suggest that deficits in visual perceptual processing and learning might, in part, underpin difficulty in reading Chinese.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)280-296
Number of pages17
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese
  • developmental dyslexia
  • perceptual learning
  • texture discrimination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Education


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