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Information Recall in Compensated Adult Dyslexics: Does Repetition Help?

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Title:
Information Recall in Compensated Adult Dyslexics: Does Repetition Help?
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Journal of Undergraduate Research
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Carvajal, Pamela J.
Altmann, Lori J. P.
Lombardino, Linda J.
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Gainesville, Fla.
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University of Florida
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Journal of Undergraduate Research
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Most research on dyslexia has studied the elementary population. However, the effects of dyslexia do not disappear with age, although the manifestation of the core deficits in dyslexia may change over time. Underlying phonological deficits in adults with developmental dyslexia (DD) may impair their ability to encode and recall auditory information. This study examined recall of auditory information in compensated adults with DD when responses were written or oral. As expected, the DD group had poorer recall than control subjects, with the difference in recall more obvious after the second recall attempt. Amount of information recall correlated with executive function measures of processing speed rather than memory. Results from this study identify impairments in individuals with DD that might impact classroom performance.

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Information Recall in Compensated Adult Dyslexics: Does

Repetition Help?


Pamela J. Carvajal, Lori J. P. Altmann, Linda J. Lombardino


University of Florida


Most research on dyslexia has studied the elementary population. However, the effects of dyslexia do not disappear with age, although
the manifestation of the core deficits in dyslexia may change over time. Underlying phonological deficits in adults with developmental
dyslexia (DD) may impair their ability to encode and recall auditory information. This study examined recall of auditory information
in compensated adults with DD when responses were written or oral. As expected, the DD group had poorer recall than control
subjects, with the difference in recall more obvious after the second recall attempt. Amount of information recall correlated with
executive function measures of processing speed rather than memory. Results from this study identify impairments in individuals with
DD that might impact classroom performance.


Introduction

Developmental dyslexia (DD) is a disorder that is
neurobiological in origin (Hudson, High, & Otaiba, 2007),
which has been defined by the World Federation of
Neurology as a disorder manifested by difficulty in
learning to read despite conventional instruction, adequate
intelligence, and sociocultural opportunity (Brosnan et al.,
2002). Badian (1984) reported that dyslexia is the most
prevalent developmental disorder, affecting around 5-10%
of the population of the Western world (as cited in Smith-
Spark & Fisk, 2007; Bronson et al., 2002). Dyslexia is
characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent
word recognition and poor spelling and decoding abilities
(Lyon, Shaywitz, & Shaywitz, 2003). Research has shown
that students do not outgrow dyslexia; it is a persistent and
chronic problem (Bruck, 1992). However, the focus of
research on dyslexia has been on reading-related skills in
the elementary population, with comparatively little
research on the manifestations of dyslexia in adults (Rath
& Royner, 2002). Considering the increasing number of
students entering postsecondary institutions, more research
on the effects of dyslexia on college students is necessary
(Kirby, Silvestri, Allingham, Parrila, & La Fave, 2008).
The current study examines the performance of a group of
college students with developmental dyslexia (DD) and
their normal reading peers (NR) on a task meant to mimic
classroom experience, a story retell task. In this task,
participants heard a paragraph and had to repeat it in
writing and, after hearing it again, repeat it orally. To
foreshadow our results, the group with dyslexia
remembered less overall than the normal readers; however,
unexpectedly, those with DD did not show significantly
improved memory after hearing the passage twice, a robust
effect among normal readers. Moreover, passage recall was
predicted by executive function scores rather than working
memory scores.


One of the core deficits in dyslexia is impaired
phonological processing (Miles, Thierry, Roberts &
Schiffeldrin, 2006). This phonological deficit has
pervasive effects on many aspects of language, including
the acquisition of reading, writing, and spelling (Lyon et
al., 2003). Moreover, the phonological impairment in DD
may also be the proximal cause of deficits in working
memory in this population (de Jong, 1998). Working
memory is defined as a limited capacity system allowing
the temporary storage and manipulation of information
necessary for such complex tasks as language
comprehension, verbal learning, and reasoning (Baddeley,
2000). Baddeley describes working memory as a four-
component system, consisting of the phonological loop,
visuospatial sketchpad, episodic buffer, and central
executive. The phonological loop is a temporary storage of
auditory input, which decays over a period of a few
seconds unless retrieved by articulatory rehearsal or, in
other words, short-term verbatim memory. The
visuospatial sketchpad maintains a short-term record of
visual and spatial information. The episodic buffer is
defined as a limited-capacity temporary system, which is
capable of integrating information from different
subsystems. Finally, the central executive controls and
integrates the information and function of the other three
components. Smith-Spark and Fisk (2007) studied working
memory function in adults with dyslexia and reported
distinct deficits in the phonological, visuospatial, and
central executive domains of working memory.
Research has also suggested individuals with dyslexia
may have difficulties with executive function. Broadly
defined, executive functioning refers to a range of
cognitive abilities including initiation, planning and
prioritizing, decision making, and task switching
(Altemeier, Abbot, & Berninger, 2008; Spreen & Strauss,
1998). Importantly, other aspects of cognition, such as
processing speed, have been associated with both working


University of Florida I Journal of Undergraduate Research I Volume 10, Issue 2 I Spring 2010






CARVAJAL ET AL.


memory and executive function in individuals with
dyslexia and other populations (Cui, Lyness, Tu, King &
Caine, 2007; Salthouse, Atkinson, & Berish, 2003; Urso,
2008). There is much debate over whether the
characteristic phonological deficits in dyslexia can be
attributed to working memory and executive function
impairments or whether the phonological deficits in
dyslexia contribute to working memory and executive
function impairments.

Effects of DD on Education and Writing
Higher education emphasizes skills that are
particularly vulnerable in individuals with dyslexia. For
example, higher education demands competence not only
in reading, but also in writing, auditory memory, auditory
processing and note-taking, all of which may be impaired
in dyslexia. Prior research on dyslexia has shown much
focus on reading problems; but with the growing
documentation of the weaknesses in writing, the need for
further research in this area is becoming more evident (e.g.,
Beminger, Nielsen, Abbott, Wijsman, & Raskind, 2008).
Mortimore and Crozier (2006) surveyed male college
students with dyslexia who admitted that expressing ideas
in writing was the third highest self-reported difficulty.
Simmerman and Risemberg (1997) characterized writing as
a controlled process in which self-initiation of thought and
planning behaviors are used to attain writing goals (as cited
in Altemeier et al., 2008). Considering these task demands,
the deficits in executive function and working memory in
dyslexia may underlie some of their difficulties with
writing (Altemeier, Jones, Abbot, & Beminger, 2006;
Altemeier et al., 2008). The students with dyslexia
surveyed by Mortimore and Crozier (2006) also reported
that note taking was the most difficult skill for them to
master. Similarly, Kirby et al. (2008) examined how
weaknesses in the phonological processing of individuals
with dyslexia manifested in the classroom and affected
their academic performance. They found that students with
dyslexia experienced the most difficulty with tasks such as
taking lecture notes, writing essays, and comprehending
large quantities of complex text (Kirby et al., 2008). Note
taking during a lecture requires the written recall of
auditory information, especially in a lecture-based
environment (Mortimore & Crozier, 2006), and
maintenance of this information while transcribing the
salient points. Academic writing requires working memory
for activating several thoughts at once and executive
function for manipulating these thoughts into a logical
order. Therefore, considering the demands that note-taking
makes on both phonological encoding and working
memory, and that writing itself requires working memory
and executive function, it is not surprising that note-taking


and writing might be particularly difficult for individuals
with dyslexia.
The current study investigated how the
characteristic phonological impairments in DD might
manifest itself in lecture-based settings. In the study,
individuals with DD and NRs were required to recall an
auditory passage both orally and in writing. The current
study also investigated whether relationships existed
between recall abilities, working memory, and/or executive
function. We predicted that individuals with DD would
have more difficulty overall with the task than NRs,
especially in the written task, but might perform similarly
to NRs on oral recall. Furthermore, we predicted that
individuals with DD would perform extremely poorly
when they were instructed to complete the written recall
task first. Finally, we predicted that individuals with DD
would recall less than the NRs the first time they heard the
passage but, after the second hearing, would demonstrate
similar levels of recall as the NRs.

Method

Participants
Nineteen individuals with DD and 23 NRs
participated in this experiment. All participants were
enrolled in college and ranged in ages from 16-28. NRs
were recruited from a participant pool at the University of
Florida and received course credit for participating.
Participants with DD were recruited from the the Disability
Resource Center at the University of Florida (UF), a local
community college, and the UF Speech and Hearing Clinic.
The DD group was compensated $7.50/hr for their time.
Each of the dyslexic participants completed a two-hour
evaluation to confirm their diagnosis. Licensed speech
pathologists from the UF Speech and Hearing Clinic
conducted the evaluations, which included Test of Word
Reading Efficiency; Comprehensive Test of Phonological
Processing; word identification, word attack, and passage
comprehension subtests of the Woodcock Reading Mastery
Test-Revised; and the spelling subtest from the Wide Range
Achievement Test. All participants were required to score at
least one standard deviation (SD) below the mean on word
reading, non-word decoding, or reading fluency, and score
no lower than one SD below the mean on reading
comprehension to qualify for participation. A questionnaire
regarding early educational history and family history was
also evaluated by a specialist in dyslexic diagnosis.

Procedure
Participants completed a battery that included, among
other tasks, tests of executive function, working memory,
and the experimental passage recall task. Participants


University of Florida I Journal of Undergraduate Research I Volume 10, Issue 2 | Spring 2010






INFORMATION RECALL


completed four tasks measuring executive function: trail-
making test B (Trails B), Digit Symbol Copying and Digit
Symbol Substitution tests, and a Stroop test. Used to
measure processing speed, attention, and sequence
maintenance (Cui et al., 2007; Spreen & Strauss, 1998),
Trails B is a timed paper and pencil task involving numeric
and alphanumeric sequencing (Cui et al., 2007). The test
consists of 25 circles with numbers (1-13) and letters (A-
L). Participants were instructed to connect the circles in
ascending order, alternating between the numbers and
letters. The task was timed until the participant connected
the last circle. Results of Trails B are used to measure
processing speed, attention, and sequence maintenance
(Cui et al., 2007; Spreen & Strauss, 1998). The Digit
Symbol Copying and Digit Symbol substitution tests are
also timed paper and pencil tasks. In the Digit Symbol
Copying test, symbols are printed in the upper half of a
box. Participants were instructed to copy the symbol in the
upper half of the box into the lower half of the box as fast
as they could and was timed until they completed all of the
boxes. The Digit Symbol Substitution test pairs numbers 1-
9 with symbols. This is followed by a grid of 100 boxes
showing the symbol in the top half. The participant must
fill in the lower portion of the box with the corresponding
number. The score is the time to complete the entire grid.
Both Digit Symbol Copying and Substitution tasks are also
measures of processing speed (Joy, Kaplan, & Fein, 2004).
The Stroop test is an executive function task measuring
inhibition (Kofman, Meiran, Greenberg, Balas, & Cohen,
2006). Its first task asks participants to name the color of
sets of XXXXs in five columns on the paper. Its second
task presents color words shown in a different color ink
(e.g., the word "blue" printed in red ink) and requires
participants to name the color in which the word is printed
rather than reading the actual word. Scoring for both
Stroop tasks is based on the number of correct responses in
45 seconds.
To measure working memory, participants also
completed a two-back test in which computer displayed
capital letters, one at a time, on the screen, and the
participant was instructed to indicate whether or not the
symbol on the screen matched the symbol that appeared
two screens back. All responses were made by clicking on
the left and right buttons on a mouse, indicating yes and no
responses, respectively. There were 100 total trials, of
which 15 were "critical" NO trials. Scores were the percent
of critical trials that were correctly detected.
The experimental task was a story retell task
administered twice in two different modalities. A narrative
story (shown in the Appendix A) was used for the story re-
tell task. Each participant was instructed to listen to the


story carefully, then to orally repeat the story back to the
examiner. The same story was then read aloud by the ex-
perimenter a second time, and the participant was instruct-
ed to reproduce the story through writing. The order of the
modality of responses, written or oral, was counterbalanced
across all subjects, and there was no time limit for either
task. The oral samples were digitally recorded and
transcribed verbatim by a trained research assistant.
Written samples were also transcribed verbatim. No
grammar or spelling corrections were made in the verbatim
transcripts. Transcripts were scored for the number of
propositions accurately recalled, with a maximum score of
30 (see Appendix B). The dependent variable was the
amount of information recalled by the subject.
Analyses examined the effect of task number (Task 1,
Task 2) and task order (written first, oral first) as well as
group.
Our analyses used a three-way, mixed model ANOVA
with Group as a between subjects variable and Task
number (Task 1, Task 2) and Modality order (Oral-1st,
Written-1st) as within subjects, repeated measures
variables. In addition, planned comparisons explicitly
compared Group differences on Task 1 and Task 2.

Results

In the three-way ANOVA, there was a main effect of
group, F(1,38)= 8.072, p < .01, 2 = .18. The DD group
overall produced fewer propositions (M = 12.62, SE =
1.10) than the NR group (M= 16.89, SE= 1.03). There was
also a main effect of task number F(1,38) = 12.402, p <
.002, n2 = .25. As expected, people remembered more
propositions the second time they were asked. The task
number by group interaction was marginally significant,
F(1, 38) = 2.743, p < .11, n2 = .25. Compared to Task 1,
individuals with DD did not show significantly improved
recall in Task 2, t(18) = 1.463, p > .15, while NRs' recall
improved significantly in Task 2, t(21) = 3.675, p < .002.
Planned comparisons showed that individuals with DD
and NRs performed similarly in oral recall, t(39) < 1, but
the group with DD tended to produce less information than
NRs when the task required writing, t(39) = 1.740, p < .10.
In addition, recall scores of the two groups did not differ in
task 1, t(39) = 0.841, p > .4; however, the NRs recalled
significantly more information in task 2, t(39) = 3.542, p <
.002.
The amount of information recalled at the first retelling
correlated with Trails B (r = -36, p < .05) and digit symbol
substitution scores (r = -.39, p < .03). The number of
propositions recalled in the second retelling correlated with
Trails B scores (r = -.36,p < .04).


University of Florida I Journal of Undergraduate Research I Volume 10, Issue 2 I Spring 2010







CARVAJAL ET AL.


Discussion

This study demonstrated that the reported deficits in
short-term memory in adults with DD also manifest in
poorer recall of auditory discourse. Moreover, even after
hearing the passage a second time, recall of information by
the DD group was significantly impaired compared to NRs.
Consequently, our initial prediction that recall would only
be impaired in the first retelling was not supported. In fact,
recall was only significantly impaired in the individuals
with DD relative to NRs during the second recall attempt,
in which individuals with DD failed to show a significant
increase in the amount of information recalled.
Interestingly, recall scores correlated with executive
function measures targeting speed of complex processing
(i.e. Trails B and Digit Symbol Substitution). This suggests
that speed of processing limitations may interact with poor
phonological encoding in individuals with dyslexia to
impair cumulative recall of information.
Consistent with another initial prediction, participants
from both groups who had the writing task first had poorer
recall than those who did the oral retell task first. Because
both groups were affected, similarly there was no
interaction of task order with group, as had been predicted.
However, as shown in Figure 1, individuals with DD who
had the written task first recalled very little information.
Writing requires the activation and coordination of several




30


25


E 20


0 15-


S10
0
a-


linguistic skills including, but not limited to, semantics,
syntax, and writing conventions (Puranik, Lombardino &
Altmann, 2006). Consequently, it has been suggested that
the cognitive demands of writing decrease the amount of
cognitive resources available for recalling auditory
information (Piolat, Olive, & Kellogg, 2004). Also,
transcribing auditory information requires connecting the
phonological representations for words with their
corresponding orthography, a skill that is specifically
impaired in dyslexia (Lyon, Shaywitz, S., & Shaywitz B.,
2003). Therefore, the additional working memory and
executive demands inherent in writing (Piolatet al., 2005),
as well as the memory demands of the story recall task,
likely contributed to the extremely poor performance of the
DD group when written recall was the first task.
One of the most important findings in this study was
the relationship between recall and executive function
tasks, usually considered to measure speed of processing,
Trails B and Digit Symbol Substitution. Limitations in
speed of processing could certainly restrict the amount of
information an individual with DD could encode from an
auditory message. In an educational context, for example,
slowed processing speeds could lead to a processing
bottleneck, particularly in lecture classes that emphasize
the ability to quickly encode and integrate incoming
auditory information. This could lead to failure to encode
whole chunks of information. Deficits in speed of


ITask 2 (written) Task 1 (written) I Task 2 (oral)
Oral 1st Written-1st


Figure 1: Number of propositions recalled by task number in each order, by modality of recall.

University of Florida I Journal of Undergraduate Research I Volume 10, Issue 2 I Spring 2010







processing and executive function could also interfere
with a student's ability to monitor the amount of
information they are missing and their understanding of
the information they were able to recall. Lack of
awareness of missed or misunderstood information could
prevent students from asking questions to clarify gaps in
their understanding.
The current practice of accommodations for
individuals with dyslexia requires that they receive
lecture notes prior to class. However, in most cases, no
further strategies are provided to students for getting the
full benefit of this accommodation (Rath & Royer,
2002). Kirby et al. (2008) suggested that explicit
instruction in strategies to minimize the effects of
dyslexia might benefit these students. They analyzed the
learning strategies of postsecondary students with
dyslexia, and found that, although students with dyslexia
do use learning strategies, they may need considerably
more instruction and strategy to execute these strategies
efficiently. In particular, Kirby et al. (2008) suggested an
intervention approach specifically targeting skills such
as main idea identification and note taking. Rath and
Royer (2002) suggested that once students acquired
explicit strategies for overcoming their academic
deficits, they become more confident as learners. One
type of intervention they proposed, self-advocacy, is a
training approach that raises students' awareness of their
disabilities and personal limitations. Helping students
gain awareness of their weaknesses would help them to
anticipate and plan for potentially difficult situations,
such as might arise in a large lecture class or with a
particularly hard to understand professor. Increased
awareness of their deficits would also allow them to
better inform their professors in order to get the
assistance they need and perhaps make them more
willing to take advantage of the accommodations
available to them.
Other strategies for minimizing resource demands
during classes might include reading over the lecture
notes before the class began. This strategy would also
help familiarize the student with the lecture material, and
familiarity with the material could alleviate some of the
cognitive demands imposed by note taking. Of course,
completing suggested readings prior to class could also
help the student gain familiarity with the subject matter
of the lecture. More cognitive resources could then be
made available for efforts in recalling, integrating, and
understanding the information. Additionally, recording
class lectures could allow the student to go back over
class notes. Recording lectures would make material
available to listen to several times, allowing the student
to shift concentration from memorization to
comprehension. Another possible approach that might be
beneficial to students with dyslexia would be choosing


seminars rather than lecture-based classes. Learning
through seminars rather than lectures would help the
student be less dependent on the online encoding of
auditory information. By actively engaging the student,
seminars could eliminate interference imposed by
language deficits.
The participants in the current study were all
enrolled in college and consequently can be considered
to be highly compensated individuals with DD.
Nevertheless, the results from this study revealed
significant deficits in recall of auditory information in
adults with DD, even when the information was
presented twice in context. Moreover, our results linked
this impairment in reproducing auditory information to
executive function deficits, particularly those associated
with speed of processing, rather than working memory.
Executive function deficits can also interfere with the
ability to develop compensatory strategies. Therefore,
we suggest that specific instruction in strategies to
minimize the effects of deficits in phonological encoding
and deficits in auditory processing speed may be
particularly helpful for college students with dyslexia.
Exactly which strategies would provide the most benefit
needs further research (Rath & Royer, 2002).

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Cynthia Puranik for helping
with the design. We also like to thank SueAnn Eidson
and Becky Wiseheart for helping with the evaluations,
and Kathy Shepard, Ansley Myrick, and Jordan
Ginsburg for doing the experimental testing.


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INFORMATION RECALL


Appendix B


Mom, in spite of being in the middle of working on the
computer, called Anna to the phone. Anna and Rick, her
brother, were invited to a pool party given by a friend.
Mom said they could go if it did not rain. The afternoon
of the pool party arrived. The children, who had finished
their homework before dressing for the party, were very
excited. At the last minute, Anna called her friend and
explained that they would have been able to go except
for the weather.


P # Written Oral
1 Mom in middle of 2
2 working on computer
3 Mom called Anna
4 3 to phone
5 Despite 1, 3
6 Anna and Rick
7 Rick is brother of Anna
8 6 were invited
9 8 to party
10 Pool party
11 10 given by friend
12 Mom said 15
13 6 could go to party
14 no rain
15 If 14, 13
16 Afternoon of party
17 16 arrived
18 Children were excited
19 Very 18
20 The children dressed
21 20 for party
22 Children finished
homework
23 22 before 20
24 Anna called friend
25 At the last minute 24
26 Anna explained 27
27 Would have been able to 28
28 They go to party
29 27 except for 30
30 Weather

Total


University of Florida I Journal of Undergraduate Research I Volume 10, Issue 2 I Spring 2010


APPENDIX A




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University of Florida | Journal of Undergraduate Research | Volume 10, Issue 2 | Spring 2010 1 Information Recall in Compensated Adult Dyslexics: Does Repetition Help? Pamela J. Carvajal, Lori J. P. Altmann, Linda J. Lombardino University of Florida Most research on dyslexia has studied the elementary population. However, the effects of dyslexia do not disappear with age, although the manifestation of the core deficits in dyslexia may change over time. Underlying phonological deficits in adults with deve lopmental dyslexia (DD) may impair their ability to encode and recall auditory information. This study examined recall of auditory information in compensated adults with DD when responses were written or oral. As expected, the DD group had poorer recall than control subjects, with t he difference in recall more obvious after the second recall attempt. Amount of information recall correlated with executive function measures of processing speed rather than memory. Results from this study identify impairments in individua ls with DD that might impact classroom performance. Introduction Developmental dyslexia (DD) is a disorder that is neurobiological in origin (Hudson, High, & Otaiba, 2007), which has been defined by the World Federation of Neurology as a disorder manifested by difficulty in learning to read despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence , and sociocultural opportunity (Brosnan et al., 2002). Badian (198 4) reported that dyslexia is the most prevalent developmental disorder, affecting around 5 10% of the population of the Western world (as cited in Smith Spark & Fisk, 2007; Bronson et al., 2002). Dyslexia is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/ or fluent word recognition and poor spelling and decoding abilities (Lyon, Shaywitz, & Shaywitz, 2003). Research has shown that students do not outgrow dyslexia; it is a persistent and chronic problem (Bruck, 1992). However, the focus of research on dyslex ia has been on reading related skills in the elementary population, with comparatively little research on the manifestations of dyslexia in adults (Rath & Royner, 2002). Considering the increasing number of students entering postsecondary institutions, mor e research on the effects of dyslexia on college students is necessary (Kirby, Silvestri, Allingham, Parrila, & La Fave, 2008). The current study examines the performance of a group of college students with developmental dyslexia (DD) and their normal read ing peers (NR) on a task meant to mimic classroom experience, a story retell task. In this task, participants heard a paragraph and had to repeat it in writing and, after hearing it again, repeat it orally. To foreshadow our results, the group with dyslexi a remembered less overall than the normal readers; however, unexpectedly, those with DD did not show significantly improved memory after hearing the passage twice, a robust effect among normal readers. Moreover, passage recall was predicted by executive fu nction scores rather than working memory scores. One of the core deficits in dyslexia is impaired phonological processing (Miles, Thierry, Roberts & Schiffeldrin, 2006). This phonological deficit has pervasive effects on many aspects of language, includin g the acquisition of reading, writing, and spelling (Lyon et al., 2003). Moreover, the phonological impairment in DD may also be the proximal cause of deficits in working memory in this population (de Jong, 1998). Working memory is defined as a limited cap acity system allowing the temporary storage and manipulation of information necessary for such complex tasks as language comprehension, verbal learning, and reasoning (Baddeley, 2000). Baddeley describes working memory as a four component system, consistin g of the phonological loop, visuospatial sketchpad, episodic buffer, and central executive. The phonological loop is a temporary storage of auditory input, which decays over a period of a few seconds unless retrieved by articulatory rehearsal or, in other words, short term verbatim memory. The visuospatial sketchpad maintains a short term record of visual and spatial information. The episodic buffer is defined as a limited capacity temporary system, which is capable of integrating information from differen t subsystems. Finally, the central executive controls and integrates the information and function of the other three components. Smith Spark and Fisk (2007) studied working memory function in adults with dyslexia and reported distinct deficits in the phono logical, visuospatial, and central executive domains of working memory. Research has also suggested individuals with dyslexia may have difficulties with executive function. Broadly defined, executive functioning refers to a range of cognitive abilities in cluding initiation, planning and prioritizing, decision making, and task switching (Altemeier, Abbot, & Berninger, 2008; Spreen & Strauss, 1998). Importantly, other aspects of cognition, such as processing speed, have been associated with both working

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C ARVAJAL ET AL . University of Florida | Journal of Undergraduate Research | Volume 10, Issue 2 | Spring 2010 2 mem ory and executive function in individuals with dyslexia and other populations (Cui, Lyness, Tu, King & Caine, 2007; Salthouse, Atkinson, & Berish, 2003; Urso, 2008). There is much debate over whether the characteristic phonological deficits in dyslexia can be attributed to working memory and executive function impairments or whether the phonological deficits in dyslexia contribute to working memory and executive function impairments. Effects of DD on Education and Writing Higher education emphasizes skills that are particularly vulnerable in individuals with dyslexia. For example, higher education demands competence not only in reading, but also in writing, auditory memory, auditory processing and note taking, all of which may be impaired in dyslexia. Prior research on dyslexia has shown much focus on reading problems; but with the growing documentation of the weaknesses in writing, the need for further research in this area is becoming more evident (e.g., Berninger, Nielsen, Abbott, Wijsman, & Raskind , 2008). Mortimore and Crozier (2006) surveyed male college students with dyslexia who admitted that expressing ideas in writing was the third highest self reported difficulty. Simmerman and Risemberg (1997) characterized writing as a controlled process i n which self initiation of thought and planning behaviors are used to attain writing goals (as cited in Altemeier et al., 2008). Considering these task demands, the deficits in executive function and working memory in dyslexia may underlie some of their di fficulties with writing (Altemeier, Jones, Abbot, & Berninger, 2006; Altemeier et al., 2008). The students with dyslexia surveyed by Mortimore and Crozier (2006) also reported that note taking was the most difficult skill for them to master. Similarly, Kir by et al. (2008) examined how weaknesses in the phonological processing of individuals with dyslexia manifested in the classroom and affected their academic performance. They found that students with dyslexia experienced the most difficulty with tasks such as taking lecture notes, writing essays, and comprehending large quantities of complex text (Kirby et al., 2008). Note taking during a lecture requires the written recall of auditory information, especially in a lecture based environment (Mortimore & Croz ier, 2006), and maintenance of this information while transcribing the salient points. Academic writing requires working memory for activating several thoughts at once and executive function for manipulating these thoughts into a logical order . Therefore, considering the demands that note taking makes on both phonological encoding and working memory, and that writing itself requires working memory and executive function, it is not surprising that note taking and writing might be particularly difficult for i ndividuals with dyslexia. The current study investigated how the characteristic phonological impairments in DD might manifest itself in lecture based settings. In the study, individuals with DD and NRs were required to recall an auditory passage both oral ly and in writing. The current study also investigated whether relationships existed between recall abilities, working memory, and/or executive function. We predicted that individuals with DD would have more difficulty overall with the task than NRs, espec ially in the written task, but might perform similarly to NRs on oral recall. Furthermore, we predicted that individuals with DD would perform extremely poorly when they were instructed to complete the written recall task first. Finally, we predicted that individuals with DD would recall less than the NRs the first time they heard the passage but, after the second hearing, would demonstrate similar levels of recall as the NRs. Method Participants Nineteen individuals with DD and 23 NRs participated in t his experiment. All participants were enrolled in college and ranged in ages from 16 28. NRs were recruited from a participant pool at the University of Florida and received course credit for participating. Participants with DD were recruited from the the Disability Resource Center at the University of Florida (UF), a local community college, and the UF Speech and Hearing Clinic. The DD group was compensated $7.50/hr for their time. Each of the dyslexic participants completed a two hour evaluation to confir m their diagnosis. Licensed speech pathologists from the UF Speech and Hearing Clinic conducted the evaluations, which included Test of Word Reading Efficiency ; Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing ; word identification, word attack, and passage co mprehension subtests of the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test Revised ; and the spelling subtest from the Wide Range Achievement Test . All participants were required to score at least one standard deviation ( SD ) below the mean on word reading, non word decoding , or reading fluency, and score no lower than one SD below the mean on reading comprehension to qualify for participation. A questionnaire regarding early educational history and family history was also evaluated by a specialist in dyslexic diagnosis. Procedure Participants completed a battery that included, among other tasks, tests of executive function, working memory, and the experimental passage recall task. Participants

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I NFORMATION R ECALL University of Florida | Journal of Undergraduate Research | Volume 10, Issue 2 | Spring 2010 3 completed four tasks measuring executive function: trail making test B (Trails B), Digit Symbol Copying and Digit Symbol Substitution tests, and a Stroop test. Used to measure processing speed, attention, and sequence maintenance (Cui et al., 2007; Spreen & Strauss, 1998), Trails B is a timed paper and pencil task involving numeric a nd alphanumeric sequencing (Cui et al., 2007). The test consists of 25 circles with numbers (1 13) and letters (A L). Participants were instructed to connect the circles in ascending order, alternating between the numbers and letters. The task was timed un til the participant connected the last circle. Results of Trails B are used to measure processing speed, attention, and sequence maintenance (Cui et al., 2007; Spreen & Strauss, 1998). The Digit Symbol Copying and Digit Symbol substitution tests are also timed paper and pencil tasks. In the Digit Symbol Copying test, symbols are printed in the upper half of a box. Participants were instructed to copy the symbol in the upper half of the box into the lower half of the box as fast as they could and was timed until they completed all of the boxes. The Digit Symbol Substitution test pairs numbers 1 9 with symbols. This is followed by a grid of 100 boxes showing the symbol in the top half. The participant must fill in the lower portion of the box with the corres ponding number. The score is the time to complete the entire grid. Both Digit Symbol Copying and Substitution tasks are also measures of processing speed (Joy, Kaplan, & Fein, 2004). The Stroop test is an executive function task measuring inhibition (Kofma n, Meiran, Greenberg, Balas, & Cohen, 2006). Its first task asks participants to name the color of sets of XXXXs in five columns on the paper. Its second task presents color words shown in a different color ink nd requires participants to name the color in which the word is printed rather than reading the actual word. Scoring for both Stroop tasks is based on the number of correct responses in 45 seconds. To measure working memory, participants also completed a t wo back test in whicha computer displayed capital letters, one at a time, on the screen, and the participant was instructed to indicate whether or not the symbol on the screen matched the symbol that appeared two screens back. All responses were made by cl icking on the left and right buttons on a mouse, indicating yes and no responses, respectively. There were 100 total trials, of of critical trials that were correctly detected. The experimental ta sk was a story retell task administered twice in two different modalities. A narrative story (shown in the Appendix A) was used for the story re tell task. Each participant was instructed to listen to the story carefully, then to orally repeat the story b ack to the examiner. The same story was then read aloud by the ex perimenter a second time, and the participant was instruct ed to reproduce the story through writing. The order of the modality of responses, written or oral, was counterbalanced across all subjects, and there was no time limit for either task. The oral samples were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim by a trained research assistant. Written samples were also transcribed verbatim. No grammar or spelling corrections were made in the ve rbatim transcripts. Transcripts were scored for the number of propositions accurately recalled, with a maximum score of 30 (see Appendix B). The dependent variable was the amount of information recalled by the subject. Analyses examined the effect of task number (Task 1, Task 2) and task order (written first, oral first) as well as group. Our analyses used a three way, mixed model ANOVA with Group as a between subjects variable and Task number (Task 1, Task 2) and Modality order (Oral 1 st , Written 1 st ) as w ithin subjects, repeated measures variables. In addition, planned comparisons explicitly compared Group differences on Task 1 and Task 2. Results In the three way ANOVA, there was a main effect of group, F (1,38) = 8.072, p o verall produced fewer propositions ( M = 12.62, SE = 1.10) than the NR group ( M = 16.89, SE = 1.03). There was also a main effect of task number F (1, 38 ) = 12.402, p < propositions the second time they were asked. The task number by group interaction was marginally significant, F (1, 38) = 2.743, p individuals with DD did not show significantly improved recall in Task 2, t (18) = 1.463, p > .15, improved significantly in Task 2, t (21) = 3.675, p < .002. Planned comparisons showed that individuals with DD and NRs performed similarly in oral recall, t (39) < 1, but the group with DD tended to produce less information than N Rs when the task required writing, t (39) = 1.740, p < .10. In addition, recall scores of the two groups did not differ in task 1, t (39) = 0.841, p > .4; however, the NRs recalled significantly more information in task 2, t (39) = 3.542, p < .002. The amoun t of information recalled at the first retelling correlated with Trails B ( r = 36, p < .05) and digit symbol substitution scores ( r = .39, p < .03). The number of propositions recalled in the second retelling correlated with Trails B scores ( r = .36, p < .04).

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C ARVAJAL ET AL . University of Florida | Journal of Undergraduate Research | Volume 10, Issue 2 | Spring 2010 4 Discussion This study demonstrated that the reported deficits in short term memory in adults with DD also manifest in poorer recall of auditory discourse. Moreover, even after hearing the passage a second time, recall of information by the DD g roup was significantly impaired compared to NRs. Consequently, our initial prediction that recall would only be impaired in the first retelling was not supported. In fact, recall was only significantly impaired in the individuals with DD relative to NRs du ring the second recall attempt, in which individuals with DD failed to show a significant increase in the amount of information recalled. Interestingly, recall scores correlated with executive function measures targeting speed of complex processing (i.e. Trails B and Digit Symbol Substitution ). This suggests that speed of processing limitations may interact with poor phonological encoding in individuals with dyslexia to impair cumulative recall of information. Consistent with another initial prediction, pa rticipants from both groups who had the writing task first had poorer recall than those who did the oral retell task first. Because both groups were affected, similarly there was no interaction of task order with group, as had been predicted. However, as s hown in Figure 1, individuals with DD who had the written task first recalled very little information. Writing requires the activation and coordination of several linguistic skills including, but not limited to, semantics, syntax, and writing conventions (Puranik, Lombardino & Altmann, 2006). Consequently, it has been suggested that the cognitive demands of writing decrease the amount of cognitive resources available for recalling auditory information (Piolat, Olive, & Kellogg, 2004). Also, transcribing au ditory information requires connecting the phonological representations for words with their corresponding orthography, a skill that is specifically impaired in dyslexia (Lyon, Shaywitz, S., & Shaywitz B., 2003). Therefore, the additional working memory an d executive demands inherent in writing (Piolatet al., 2005), as well as the memory demands of the story recall task, likely contributed to the extremely poor performance of the DD group when written recall was the first task. One of t he most important findings in this study was the relationship between recall and executive function tasks, usually considered to measure speed of processing, Trails B and Digit Symbol Substitution. Limitations in speed of processing could certainly restric t the amount of information an individual with DD could encode from an auditory message. In an educational context, for example, slowed processing speeds could lead to a processing bottleneck, particularly in lecture classes that emphasize the ability to q uickly encode and integrate incoming auditory information. This could lead to failure to encode whole chunks of information. Deficits in speed of Figure 1 : Number of propositions recalled by task number in each order, by modality of recall.

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University of Florida | Journal of Undergraduate Research | Volume 10, Issue 2 | Spring 2010 5 processing and executive function could also interfere information they are missing and their understanding of the information they were able to recall. Lack of awareness of missed or misunderstood information could p revent students from asking questions to clarify gaps in their understanding. The current practice of accommodations for individuals with dyslexia requires that they receive lecture notes prior to class. However, in most cases, no further strategies are p rovided to students for getting the full benefit of this accommodation (Rath & Royer, 2002). Kirby et al. (2008) suggested that explicit instruction in strategies to minimize the effects of dyslexia might benefit these students. They analyzed the learning strategies of postsecondary students with dyslexia, and found that, although students with dyslexia do use learning strategies, they may need considerably more instruction and strategy to execute these strategies efficiently. In particular, Kirby et al. ( 2008) suggested an intervention approach specifically targeting skills such as main idea identification and note taking. Rath and Royer (2002) suggested that once students acquired explicit strategies for overcoming their academic deficits, they become mor e confident as learners. One type of intervention they proposed, self advocacy, is a disabilities and personal limitations. Helping students gain awareness of their weaknesses would help them to an ticipate and plan for potentially difficult situations, such as might arise in a large lecture class or with a particularly hard to understand professor. Increased awareness of their deficits would also allow them to better inform their professors in order to get the assistance they need and perhaps make them more willing to take advantage of the accommodations available to them. Other strategies for minimizing resource demands during classes might include reading over the lecture notes before the class be gan. This strategy would also help familiarize the student with the lecture material, and familiarity with the material could alleviate some of the cognitive demands imposed by note taking. Of course, completing suggested readings prior to class could also help the student gain familiarity with the subject matter of the lecture. More cognitive resources could then be made available for efforts in recalling, integrating, and understanding the information. Additionally, recording class lectures could allow th e student to go back over class notes. Recording lectures would make material available to listen to several times, allowing the student to shift concentration from memorization to comprehension. Another possible approach that might be beneficial to studen ts with dyslexia would be choosing seminars rather than lecture based classes. Learning through seminars rather than lectures would help the student be less dependent on the online encoding of auditory information. By actively engaging the student, seminar s could eliminate interferences imposed by language deficits. The participants in the current study were all enrolled in college and consequently can be considered to be highly compensated individuals with DD. Nevertheless, the results from this study revealed significant deficits in recall of auditory information in adults with DD, even when the information was presented twice in context. Moreover, our results linked this impairment in reproducing auditory information to executive function deficits, p articularly those associated with speed of processing, rather than working memory. Executive function deficits can also interfere with the ability to develop compensatory strategies. Therefore, we suggest that specific instruction in strategies to minimize the effects of deficits in phonological encoding and deficits in auditory processing speed may be particularly helpful for college students with dyslexia. Exactly which strategies would provide the most benefit needs further research (Rath & Royer, 2002). Acknowledgments We would like to thank Cynthia Puranik for helping with the design. We also like to thank SueAnn Eidson and Becky Wiseheart for helping with the evaluations, and Kathy Shepard, Ansley Myrick, and Jordan Ginsburg for doing the experimen tal testing. References Altemeier, L., Jones, J., Abbott, R., & Berninger, V. (2006). Executive functions in becoming writing readers and reading writers: note taking and report writing in third and fifth graders. Developmental Neuropsychology , 29 (1), 161 173. doi:10.1207/s15326942dn2901_8 Altemeier, L., Abbott, R., & Berninger, V. (2008, July). Executive functions for reading and writing in typical literacy development and dyslexia. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology , 30 (5), 588 606. doi:10.1080/13803390701562818 Baddeley, A. (2000, November). The episodic buffer: A new component of working memory? Trends in Cognitive Sciences , 4 (11), 417 423. doi:10.1016/S1364 6613 (00)01538 2 Berninger, V., Abbott, R., Thomson, J., Wagner, R., Swanso n, H., Wijsman, E., & Raskind, W. (2006). Modeling phonological core deficits within a working memory architecture in children and adults with developmental dyslexia. Scientific Studies of Reading, 10 (2), 165 198.

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C ARVAJAL ET AL . University of Florida | Journal of Undergraduate Research | Volume 10, Issue 2 | Spring 2010 6 Brosnan, M., Demetre, J., Hamill, S., Robs on, K., Shepherd, H., & Cody, G. (2002). Executive functioning adults and children with developmental dyslexia. Neuropsychologia , 40 (12), 2144 2155. doi:10.1016 /S0028 3932(02)00046 5 Bruck, M. (1992, September). Persistence of dyslexics' phonolo gical awareness deficits. Developmental Psychology , 28 (5), 874 886. doi:10.1037/0012 1649.28.5.874 Carrow Woolfolk, Elizabeth. (1999). Comprehensive a ssessment of s poken l anguage (CASL). Pearson Assessments: Bloomington, IN. Cui, X., Lyness, J., Tu, X., King, D., & Caine, E. (2007, August). Does depression precede or follow executive dysfunction? Outcomes in older primary care patients. American Journal of Psychiatry , 164 (8), 1221 1228. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2007.06040690 de Jo ng, P. (1998, August). Working memory deficits of reading disabled children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 70 (2), 75 96. doi:10.1016/j.physletb.2003.10.071 Hudson R., High, L., & Otaiba, S. (2007, March). Dyslexia and the brain: What does curre nt research tell us? International Ready Association, 60 (6), 506 515. doi:10.1598/RT.60.61 Joy, S., Kaplan, E., & Fein, D. (2004, September). Speed and memory in the WAIS III Digit Symbol -Coding subtest across the adult lifespan. Archives of Clinical Neur opsychology , 19 (6), 759 767. doi:10.1016/j.acn.2003.09.009 Kirby, J., Silvestri, R., Allingham, B., Parrila, R., & La Fave, C. (2008, January). Learning strategies and study approaches of postsecondary students with dyslexia. Journal of Learning Disabilit ies , 41 (1), 85 96. doi: 10.1177/0022219407311040 Kofman, O., Meiran, N., Greenberg, E., Balas, M., & Cohen, H. (2006, August). Enhanced performance on executive functions associated with examination stress: Evidence from task switching and Stroop paradigms . Cognition & Emotion , 20 (5), 577 595. doi:10.1080/02699930 500270913 Lyon, R., Shaywitz, S., and Shaywitz, B. 2003. A definition of dyslexia . Annals of Dyslexia, 53 , 1 14. Miles, T., Thierry, G., Roberts, J., & Schiffeldrin, J. (2006) Verbatim and gist recall of sentences by dyslexic and non dyslexic adults. Dyslexia, 12 (3), 177 194. Mortimore, T. & Crozier, WR. (2006, April). Dyslexia and difficulties with study skills in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 31 (2), 235 251. doi: 10.1080/03075070600572173 Piolat, A., Olive, T., & Kellogg, R. (2005, April). Cognitive effort during note taking. Applied Cognitive Psychology , 19 (3), 291 312. doi:10.1002/acp.1086 Puranik, C., Lombardino, L., & Altmann, L. (2007, April). Writing through retellings: An exploratory study of language impaired and dyslexic populations. Reading and Writing , 20 (3), 251 272. doi:10.1007/s11145 006 9030 1 Rath, K., & Royer, J. (2002, December). The nature and effectiveness of learning disability services for coll ege students. Educational Psychology Review , 14 (4), 353 381. doi:10.1023/A:1020694510935 Salthouse, T., Atkinson, T., & Berish, D. (2003, December). Executive functioning as a potential mediator of age related cognitive decline in normal adults. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General , 132 (4), 566 594. doi:10.1037/0096 3445.132.4.566 Smith Spark, J., & Fisk, J. (2007). Working memory functioning in developmental dyslexia. Memory , 15 (1), 34 56. doi:10.1080/09658210601043384 Spreen, O. & Strauss, E. (1998 ). A compendium of neuropsychological tests (2 nd ed.). Oxford University Press. Urso, A. (2008). Processing speed as a predictor of poor reading . Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Arizona. Zimmerman, B. J., & Risemberg, R. (1997). Becoming a self regulated writer: A social cognitive perspective. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 22 , 73 101. doi:10.1016/S0885 2006(01)00074 6

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I NFORMATION R ECALL University of Florida | Journal of Undergraduate Research | Volume 10, Issue 2 | Spring 2010 7 APPENDIX A Mom, in spite of being in the middle of working on the computer, called Anna to the phone. Anna and Rick, her brother, were invited to a pool party given by a friend. Mom said they could go if it did not rain. The afternoon of the pool party arrived. The children, who had finished their homework before dressing for the party, were very excited. At the last minute, Anna called her friend and explained that they would have been able to go except for the weather . Appendix B P # Written Oral 1 Mom in middle of 2 2 working on computer 3 Mom called Anna 4 3 to phone 5 Despite 1, 3 6 Anna and Rick 7 Rick is brother of Anna 8 6 were invited 9 8 to party 10 Pool party 11 10 given by friend 12 Mom said 15 13 6 could go to party 14 no rain 15 If 14, 13 16 Afternoon of party 17 16 arrived 18 Children were excited 19 Very 18 20 The children dressed 21 20 for party 22 Children finished homework 23 22 before 20 24 Anna called friend 25 At the last minute 24 26 Anna explained 27 27 Would have been able to 28 28 They go to party 29 27 except for 30 30 Weather Total