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Description: The ability to extract patterns from sensory input across time and space is thought to underlie the development and acquisition of language and literacy skills, particularly the subdomains marked by the learning of probabilistic knowledge. Thus, impairments to the procedural learning mechanisms are hypothesised by the Procedural Deficit Hypothesis to underlie neurodevelopmental disorders such as dyslexia and developmental language disorder (DLD). In the present meta-analysis, comprising 2396 participants from 39 independent studies, the relationship between language, literacy and procedural memory on the Serial Reaction Time task (SRTT) was assessed across children and adults with typical development (TD), dyslexia and DLD. Based on the Procedural/Declarative model a positive relationship was expected between procedural memory and language and literacy measures for the typically developing group; however, no such relationship was observed. This was also the case for the disordered groups (ps < .05). Also counter to the Procedural Deficit Hypothesis, the magnitude of the relationship between procedural learning and grammar and phonology did not differ between TD and DLD (ps < .05), nor between the TD and dyslexic group on reading, spelling and phonology (ps < .05). Whilst lending little support to the Procedural/Declarative model and the Procedural Deficit Hypothesis, we consider that these results may be the consequence of poor psychometric properties of the SRTT as a measure of procedural learning.

License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International


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