The Efficacy of Magnocellular Based Training on Reading Accuracy
Leila Ebrahimia, Prof. H. Pouretemadb, Dr. A. Khatibic
aM.Sc student at the Department of Clinical Child Psychology, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran
bProfessor of Clinical Neuropsychology, Institute of Cognitive & Brain Science, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran
cPostdoctoral research fellow at CRIUGM, University of Montreal, Canada
cognitive training, agnocellular, reading disability, random dot kinematogram, saccadic eye movement
Magnocellular pathway is one of the two pathways involved in the primary processing of early visual system, and is sensitive to motion, low contrast sensitivity and high temporal frequency. Magnocellular deficiency is a well-known pathological factor on poor reading (Stein and Walsh, 1997). It is suggested that these patients may benefit from training which may improve magnocellular function. The aim of the current study is to examine the efficacy of Magnocellular based training using RDK and saccadic eye movement therapy on reading accuracy.
Twenty four students with reading disabilities and also magnocellular deficits served as participants (mean age9.08 years). Magnocellular deficit was diagnosed with random dot kinematogram (RDK) test. These participants were all boy and studying in Tehran elementary schools in grades 2 to 4. Participants were divided into two groups; 13 students as magnocellular based training group and 11 students as control group. Two groups were matched in reading accuracy, age, IQ and school grade.
For the pre-test, both groups were tested for APRA (Assessment of Persian Reading Ability), coherent motion detection threshold RDK task (as a measure of magnocellular functioning), saccadic eye movement and by a paper test of magnocellular pathway performance. Participants in the experiment group received 12 sessions of intervention. The sessions were twice a week for about 6 weeks and took 20 minutes each session. First task in the intervention sessions was based on RDK while in spite of RDK participant received auditory feedback for any incorrect answer. Second task was saccadic eye movement training in which participant was encouraged to make accurate saccadic eye movements in 10 trials. Each trail took about 1 minute and there was a relaxation time for 1 minute between two trails. Instead of training sessions in experiment group, participants in the control group played a video game. In the middle of the intervention sessions, tests were repeated for both groups. Six weeks after pre-test, post-test was taken. After one month follow-up was done
Using repeated measure analysis, experiment group demonstrated significant improvement in magnocellular function and also reading accuracy after intervention. Participants in the control group demonstrated no significant improvement in their functioning throughout different sessions.
Results from this research suggest that magnocellular based training programs, improved magnocellular function in the students and therefore influenced complex functions such as reading accuracy; so it might be a suitable intervention to correct reading deficits among students with learning disabilities.