Curved vs. Straight-Line Handwriting Effects on Word Recognition in Typical and Dyslexic Readers Across Chinese and English

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Handwriting serves to link auditory and motor routines with visual word processing, which is a hallmark of successful reading. The current study aims to explore the effect of multisensory integration as a pathway to neural specialization for print among typical and dyslexic readers across writing systems. We identified 9-10-year-old dyslexic Chinese children (n = 24) and their typically developing counterparts (n = 24) on whom we conducted both behavioral and electroencephalogram (EEG) experiments. We designed four learning conditions: Handwriting Chinese (HC), Viewing Chinese (VC), Drawing followed by Character Recognition in Chinese (D-C), and Drawing followed by Word Recognition in English (D-E). In both handwriting and drawing conditions, we also designed curved vs. straight-line stimuli. Both behavioral and EEG results showed that handwriting straight line strokes facilitated visual word recognition in Chinese compared to handwriting curved lines. Handwriting conditions resulted in a lateralization of the N170 in typical readers, but not the dyslexic readers. Interestingly, drawing curved lines facilitate word recognition in English among dyslexic readers. Taken together, the results of the study suggest benefits of handwriting on the neural processing and behavioral performance in response to Chinese character recognition and curved-line drawing effects on English word recognition among dyslexic readers. But the lack of handwriting effects in dyslexic readers suggest that students who have deficits in reading may also be missing the link between multisensory integration and word recognition in the visual word form areas. The current study results have implications for maintaining handwriting practices to promote perception and motor integration for visual word form area development for normal readers and suggest that drawing practices might benefit Chinese dyslexic readers in reading English.

handwriting, drawing, visual word recognition, N170, laterality, Chinese, English, EARLY ELECTROPHYSIOLOGICAL RESPONSE, BRAIN ACTIVITY, TIME-COURSE, CHILDREN, PERCEPTION, EXPERTISE, EXPERIENCE, MOTOR, ERP, Psychology, Multidisciplinary
Guan, C. Q., Li, Y., Meng, W., & Morett, L. M. (2021). Curved vs. Straight-Line Handwriting Effects on Word Recognition in Typical and Dyslexic Readers Across Chinese and English. In Frontiers in Psychology (Vol. 12). Frontiers Media SA.