The role of plasticity-related functional reorganization in the explanation of central dyslexias

Stephen R. Welbourne, Anna M. Woollams, Jenni Crisp, Matthew A Lambon Ralph

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    This investigation explored the hypothesis that patterns of acquired dyslexia may reflect, in part, plasticity-driven relearning that dynamically alters the division of labour (DOL) between the direct, orthography → phonology (O → P) pathway and the semantically mediated, orthography → semantics → phonology (O → S → P) pathway. Three simulations were conducted using a variant of the triangle model of reading. The model demonstrated core characteristics of normal reading behaviour in its undamaged state. When damage was followed by reoptimization (mimicking spontaneous recovery), the model reproduced the deficits observed in the central dyslexias-acute phonological damage combined with recovery matched data taken from a series of 12 phonological dyslexic patients-whilst progressive semantic damage interspersed with recovery reproduced data taken from 100 observations of semantic dementia patients. The severely phonologically damaged model also produced symptoms of deep dyslexia (imageability effects, production of semantic and mixed semantic/visual errors). In all cases, the DOL changed significantly in the recovery period, suggesting that postmorbid functional reorganization is important in understanding behaviour in chronic-stage patients. © 2011 Psychology Press.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)65-108
    Number of pages43
    JournalCognitive Neuropsychology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • Connectionist
    • Dyslexia
    • Parallel distributed processing
    • Plasticity
    • Reading


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