Photographer: Eduard Lampe

Ms M.T.G. (Merel) van Witteloostuijn MA


  • Faculty of Humanities
    Capaciteitsgroep Taalwetenschap
  • Visiting address
    P.C. Hoofthuis
    Spuistraat 134  Amsterdam
    Room number: 650
  • Postal address:
    Spuistraat  134
    1012 VB  Amsterdam
  • M.T.G.vanWitteloostuijn@uva.nl
    T: 0205253855

In May 2015 I started working as a PhD within the VIDI project “Examining the contribution of procedural learning to grammar and literacy acquisition in children”. This project consists of two subprojects. One subproject aims to determine whether procedural learning ability predicts development in grammar and literacy in typically developing children using a longitudinal design. The second subproject examines whether deficiencies in procedural learning mechanisms contribute to the grammatical and literacy problems that children with specific language impairment (SLI) and children with developmental dyslexia experience. This second subproject is divided into two PhD projects, one on SLI and one on dyslexia. My PhD project concerns children with dyslexia.

 

Background

Procedural learning involves discovering systematic rules in the input without explicit instruction to attend to these rules, and storing these in long-term memory (Ullman, 2004; Tomblin et al., 2007). The procedural memory system is involved in encoding, storing and retrieving statistical regularities in the input. Previous research has suggested that this system helps children to discover the underlying structure of hierarchical relationships between sounds, words, word elements, and letters and sounds (e.g. Gomez, 2002; Saffran, 2003; Arciuli & Simpson, 2012). It has been proposed that the literacy impairment in developmental dyslexia is due to impairments in the procedural memory system (Nicolson & Fawcett, 2007). Indeed, recent studies have demonstrated deficiencies in procedural learning in children with dyslexia (e.g. Pavlidou & Williams, 2010; Vicari et al., 2005; Kerkhoff et al., 2013). However, the methodology used differs across studies, tapping different cognitive domains of procedural learning (using linguistic versus non-linguistic input) and presenting stimuli in different modalities (auditory versus visual). Additionally, few studies have directly investigated the link between children's procedural learning ability and the acquisition of grammar and literacy.

 

This project will systematically test procedural learning ability in the linguistic and the non-linguistic domain, using stimuli presented both in the auditory and the visual modality. These results will provide a thorough and systematic overview of procedural learning in developmental dyslexia in relation to grammar and literacy proficiency.

 

Project website: www.progracy.com

 

Supervision

The project is supervised by prof. dr. Paul Boersma, prof. dr. Frank Wijnen and dr. Judith Rispens.

 

Poster presentations

Van Witteloostuijn, M.T.G. and Schaeffer, J.C. (2015) The acquisition of the mass-count distinction by Dutch-acquiring children with and without Specific Language Impairment (SLI). Generative Approaches to Langauge Acquisition North America (GALANA), 21-02-2015.

 

Schaeffer, J.C., Van Witteloostuijn, M.T.G., and De Haan, D. (2014) Overgeneration of indefinite articles in Autism and SLI. Boston University Conference on Language Development (BUCLD), 8-11-2014.

 

Van Witteloostuijn, M.T.G. and Schaeffer, J.C. (2014) On the acquisition of the mass-count distinction in Dutch. Poster presentation (selected for top 10 Student Poster Prize), International Association for the Study of Child Language (IASCL), 15-07-2014.

 

Schaeffer, J.C., Van Witteloostuijn, M.T.G., and De Haan, D. (2014) Article Choice in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and in children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI). Poster presentation, International Association for the Study of Child Language (IASCL), poster, 17-07-2014.

 

Schaeffer, J.C. and Van Witteloostuijn, M.T.G. (2014) Direct object scrambling in high-functioning children with Autism as compared to SLI. International Association for the Study of Child Language (IASCL), 16-07-2014.

 

Conference presentations

Van Witteloostuijn, M.T.G. and Schaeffer, J.C. (2014) On the acquisition of the mass-count distinction in Dutch. TIN-dag, Utrecht, 01-02-2014.

 

De Haan, D., Schaeffer, J.C., and Van Witteloostuijn, M.T.G. (2014) Article Choice in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and in children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI). TIN-dag, Utrecht, 01-02-2014.

2017

  • Blom, E., van Dijk, C., Vasić, N., van Witteloostuijn, M., & Avrutin, S. (2017). Textese and use of texting by children with typical language development and Specific Language Impairment. Computers in Human Behavior, 66, 42-51. DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2016.09.010 

2016

2015

  • Schaeffer, J. C., van Witteloostuijn, M. T. G., & de Haan, D. (in press). Overgeneration of Indefinite Articles in Autism and SLI. Boston University Conference on Language Development. Proceedings, 39.

2017

  • Spit, S. B., Lammertink, I. L., Rispens, J. E., & van Witteloostuijn, M. T. G. (2017). Procedural memory in the gifted child.
  • Lammertink, I. L., van Witteloostuijn, M. T. G., Boersma, P. P. G., Wijnen, F. N. K., & Rispens, J. E. (2017). Online measure of nonadjacent dependency learning in typically developing children. Poster session presented at Research workshop of the Israeli Science foundation on Procedural and Declarative memory, language aquisition and cognitive processes: developmental trajectories and impairments in monolingual and bilingual children, Israel.

2016

  • van Witteloostuijn, M. T. G., Lammertink, I. L., Davalos, T., Boersma, P. P. G., Wijnen, F., & Rispens, J. E. (2016). The relation between implicit learning and spelling ability in adults: an individual differences approach. Poster session presented at Fifth Implicit Learning Seminar, .
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