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Serial order effects in spelling errors: Evidence from two dysgraphic patients

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Schiller, N. O., Greenhall, J. A., Shelton, J. R., & Caramazza, A. (2001). Serial order effects in spelling errors: Evidence from two dysgraphic patients. Neurocase, 7, 1-14. doi:10.1093/neucas/7.1.1.

This study reports data from two dysgraphic patients, TH and PB, whose errors in spelling most often occurred in the final part of words. The probability of making an error increased monotonically towards the end of words. Long words were affected more than short words, and performance was similar across different output modalities (writing, typing and oral spelling). This error performance was found despite the fact that both patients showed normal ability to repeat the same words orally and to access their full spelling in tasks that minimized the involvement of working memory. This pattern of performance locates their deficit to the mechanism that keeps graphemic representations active for further processing, and shows that the functioning of this mechanism is not controlled or "refreshed" by phonological (or articulatory) processes. Although the overall performance pattern is most consistent with a deficit to the graphemic buffer, the strong tendency for errors to occur at the ends of words is unlike many classic "graphemic buffer patients" whose errors predominantly occur at word-medial positions. The contrasting patterns are discussed in terms of different types of impairment to the graphemic buffer.