Ms M.T.G. (Merel) van Witteloostuijn MA
Faculty of Humanities
Spuistraat 134 Room number: 650
1012 VB Amsterdam
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.
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
The project is supervised by prof. dr. Paul Boersma, prof. dr. Frank Wijnen and dr. Judith Rispens.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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, .
- No ancillary activities