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Schmalz, Xenia; Moll, Kristina; Mulatti, Claudio; Schulte-Koerne, Gerd (2019): Is Statistical Learning Ability Related to Reading Ability, and If So, Why? In: Scientific Studies of Reading, Vol. 23, No. 1: pp. 64-76
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Previous studies found a relationship between performance on statistical learning (SL) tasks and reading ability and developmental dyslexia. Thus, it has been suggested that the ability to implicitly learn patterns may be important for reading acquisition. Causal mechanisms behind this relationship are unclear: Although orthographic sensitivity to letter bigrams may emerge through SL and facilitate reading, there is no empirical support for this link. We test 84 adults on two SL tasks, reading tests, and a bigram sensitivity task. We test for correlations using Bayes factors. This serves to test the prediction that SL and reading ability are correlated and to explore sensitivity to bigram legality as a potential mediator. We find no correlations between SL tasks and reading ability, SL and bigram sensitivity, or between the SL tasks. We conclude that correlating SL with reading ability may not yield replicable results, partly due to low correlations between SL tasks.