DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2017.00439

Acta Psychologica Sinica (心理学报) 2017/49:4 PP.439-449

The connecting competition effect on the orthographic-phonological connection coding for children with spelling difficulties

Spelling difficulty is a common phenomenon; it is one of the major types of learning disorder. An extensive amount of research has yielded considerable evidence that children with spelling difficulties have impairments in orthographic-phonological connections. However, there still remains equivocal about the mechanism of grapheme-sound connection deficits. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the competition interference effect of global phonology and radical phonology on grapheme-sound connection coding for children with spelling difficulties.
The first experiment involved artificial single characters as orthographic material, requiring all participants to remember the correspondence between the grapheme and the sound. The grapheme-sound connecting level of children with spelling difficulties was compared across two conditions: competitive phonological condition and control condition. In the competitive phonological condition, pseudo-words with high phonological accessibility were used as experimental material. In the control condition, the phonological accessibility of pseudo-words was low.
In the second experiment, artificial compound characters of left-right structure were used as experimental material. All participants were asked to remember the association between the grapheme and the sound. As the same as the first experiment, there were two different conditions: competitive phonological condition and control condition. In the competitive phonological condition, the radical phonology was different from the global phonology, which caused competition interference with global grapheme-sound connecting. In the control condition, no competition interference would be induced since the phonetic components were not into the word.
Results of the first experiment found that the children with spelling difficulty showed a lower rate of accuracy of the grapheme-sound connection than the control group, but no significant differences were found between two groups on the response time. In addition, the control group obtained significant lower accuracy in the competitive condition than in the control condition, whereas children with spelling difficulties showed no significant differences between the competitive and control conditions (neither accuracy nor response time).
Results of the second experiment indicated that the children with spelling difficulties showed a lower rate of accuracy and a longer response time than the control group. Furthermore, the response time in the competitive condition was longer than that in the control condition for the two groups, which suggested that the two groups were both effected by the competition interference, but according to the results, the effect was more significant for the children with spelling difficulties.
Generally, concerning the grapheme-sound connection coding, it was found, as in previous studies, that children with spelling difficulties performed worse than normal children. But the competition of global phonology had no effect on the grapheme-sound connecting for the children with spelling difficulties. One reason for this finding, we suspect, is that children with spelling difficulties mainly depend on visual processing, and lack sensitivity to phonological information. As a result, the phonological information of characters with similar form is hard to be automatically activated by global orthography. As for another finding that the competition interference effect of radical phonology on the grapheme-sound connection is more significant for the children with spelling difficulties, there may be two explanations: (1) children with spelling difficulties have impairments in grapheme-sound connecting, and they are easily interrupted by activated radical phonology; (2) the grapheme-sound connection representations stored in the working memory of the children with spelling difficulties are more likely to be influenced by the proactive interference of activated radical phonology.

Key words:spelling difficulties,grapheme-sound connection,interference

ReleaseDate:2017-05-12 17:01:35

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