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Deep dyslexia is a form of Alexia (acquired dyslexia) that disrupts reading processes that were functioning normally before the individual suffered a head trauma to the left hemisphere. Deep dyslexia may occur as a result of a head injury, stroke, disease, or operation (Harley, 2001).
Deep dyslexia is mainly characterised by the occurrence of semantic reading errors or semantic paralexias when reading aloud (eg. view → “scene). Other characteristics of deep dyslexia include visual errors (eg. thing → “think”) and deviational errors (eg. alcohol → alcoholic) as well as poor reading of function words, more difficulty reading abstract than concrete and highly imaginable words, a complete inability to read non-words, severe impairments when writing to diction and writing spontaneously, and in many cases an impairment in short term memory, or digit span (Plaut & Shallice, 1993;Klein et al., 1994; Weekes et al., 1997; Harley, 2001 ; Kolb & Whishaw, 2003).
While the symptoms of deep dyslexia are different and independent impairments of reading, it is rare to find an individual who only displays some of the characteristics of it; indeed, most patients presenting with semantic paralexias also demonstrate all of the other symptoms. This has resulted in deep dyslexia being considered a symptom-complex and has led to much research into why this variety of symptoms may co-occur in so many patients (Coultheart, Marshall & Patterson, 1986; Weekes et al., 1997).
- Harley, Trevor A. (2001). The psychology of language: from data to theory, 189–195, Taylor & Francis.
- Plaut, David C., Tim Shallice (1993). Deep dyslexia: A case study of connectionist neuropsychology. Cognitive Neuropsychology 10 (5): 377–500. DOI:10.1080/02643299308253469 .
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