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Psychol Sci. 2010 Jan;21(1):93-101. doi: 10.1177/0956797609354084. Epub 2009 Nov 23.

Uncoupling of reading and IQ over time: empirical evidence for a definition of dyslexia.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616-8686, USA.


Developmental dyslexia is defined as an unexpected difficulty in reading in individuals who otherwise possess the intelligence and motivation considered necessary for fluent reading, and who also have had reasonable reading instruction. Identifying factors associated with normative and impaired reading development has implications for diagnosis, intervention, and prevention. We show that in typical readers, reading and IQ development are dynamically linked over time. Such mutual interrelationships are not perceptible in dyslexic readers, which suggests that reading and cognition develop more independently in these individuals. To our knowledge, these findings provide the first empirical demonstration of a coupling between cognition and reading in typical readers and a developmental uncoupling between cognition and reading in dyslexic readers. This uncoupling was the core concept of the initial description of dyslexia and remains the focus of the current definitional model of this learning disability.

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