Study finds a relationship between working memory and single word reading in children with developmental dyslexia.

This article was published within the Neuropsychologia Journal. The participants for the study were recruited from different elementary schools in the greater Atlanta, Georgia area. In total, the sample consisted of 99 participants, 77 with developmental dyslexia, and 22 controls. Both groups of participants completed an fMRI task to allow the researchers to identify activation within different regions of the brain involved in working memory. The primary goal of the present study was to investigate activity within the working memory network in relation to single word reading skills in children with developmental dyslexia in comparison to their typically developing peers.

Working memory (WM) contains the functions of the brain that are involved in temporary maintenance and manipulation of new information that are used to complete tasks. Previous research has suggested a strong correlation between WM and reading comprehension in children but the specific mechanisms involved in this process are less understood, which provides a purpose for this study.

Using different forms of statistical analysis following the conclusion of the experiments within the study, researchers formulated and assessed the results. Overall, the findings suggest that children with developmental dyslexia use their WM network to a greater degree during single word reading when compared to their typically developing peers. However, it should also be noted that despite a greater reliance on WM, the children with developmental dyslexia had significantly lower task performance across all the conditions of the experiment which suggests a complex relationship between WM network activity and overall reading performance for struggling readers.