The role of short-term memory impairment in nonword repetition, real word repetition, and nonword decoding: A case study

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    In a companion study, adults with dyslexia and adults with a probable history of childhood apraxia of speech showed evidence of difficulty with processing sequential information during nonword repetition, multisyllabic real word repetition and nonword decoding. Results suggested that some errors arose in visual encoding during nonword reading, all levels of processing but especially short-term memory storage/retrieval during nonword repetition, and motor planning and programming during complex real word repetition. To further investigate the role of short-term memory, a participant with short-term memory impairment (MI) was recruited. MI was confirmed with poor performance during a sentence repetition and three nonword repetition tasks, all of which have a high short-term memory load, whereas typical performance was observed during tests of reading, spelling, and static verbal knowledge, all with low short-term memory loads. Experimental results show error-free performance during multisyllabic real word repetition but high counts of sequence errors, especially migrations and assimilations, during nonword repetition, supporting short-term memory as a locus of sequential processing deficit during nonword repetition. Results are also consistent with the hypothesis that during complex real word repetition, short-term memory is bypassed as the word is recognized and retrieved from long-term memory prior to producing the word.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)347-352
    Number of pages6
    JournalClinical Linguistics and Phonetics
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Apr 3 2018


    • Short-term memory impairment
    • levels of information processing
    • sequencing errors
    • serial order
    • substitution errors

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Language and Linguistics
    • Linguistics and Language
    • Speech and Hearing


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