Reduced categorical learning of faces in dyslexia

Ayelet Gertsovski*, Odeya Guri, Merav Ahissar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The perception of phonological categories in dyslexia is less refined than in typically developing (TD) individuals. Traditionally, this characteristic was considered unique to phonology, yet many studies showed non-phonological perceptual difficulties. Importantly, measuring the dynamics of cortical adaptation, associated with category acquisition, revealed a broadly distributed faster decay of cortical adaptation. Taken together, these observations suggest that the acquisition of perceptual categories in dyslexia may be slower across modalities. To test this, we tested adult individuals with developmental dyslexia (IDDs) and TDs on learning of two unknown faces, yielding face-specific categorization. Initial accuracy was similar in the two groups, yet practice-induced increase in accuracy was significantly larger in TDs. Modeling the learning process (using Drift Diffusion Model) revealed that TDs' steeper learning results from a larger increase in their effective face-specific signal. We propose that IDDs' slower item-specific categorical learning of unknown faces indicates that slower categorical learning in dyslexia is a core, domain-general difficulty.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)80-95
Number of pages16
StatePublished - Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s)


  • Drift diffusion model
  • Dyslexia
  • Face categorization
  • Perceptual learning


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