Gillian West

Gillian West
University of Oxford | OX · The Department of Education

Doctor of Philosophy

About

17
Publications
4,843
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198
Citations
Introduction

Publications

Publications (17)
Article
Oral language skills are critical for psychosocial development and children with language difficulties are more likely than peers to experience behavioral problems. This study investigated the effects of an oral language intervention on behavioral adjustment. We collected teacher ratings of behavioral adjustment for 1173 children taking part in a c...
Article
Background: There is now substantial evidence that language interventions delivered to small groups can be effective for improving language skills and hence strengthening the foundation for formal schooling. However, there are remaining challenges when delivering such interventions in naturalistic environments at scale. Method: We reflect on three...
Article
Impaired procedural learning has been suggested as a possible cause of developmental dyslexia (DD) and developmental language disorder (DLD). We evaluate this theory by performing a series of meta-analyses on evidence from the six procedural learning tasks that have most commonly been used to test this theory: the serial reaction time, Hebb learnin...
Article
Full-text available
Background: It is well established that oral language skills provide a critical foundation for formal education. This study evaluated the effectiveness of the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI) programme in ameliorating language difficulties in the first year of school when delivered at scale. Methods: We conducted a cluster randomized...
Article
Full-text available
Oral language is crucial for social interaction and for learning in the classroom; it also provides the foundation for reading comprehension. It follows that children with language difficulties are at high risk of educational failure. Recently, a number of studies have demonstrated that it is possible to produce small but significant improvements i...
Article
The procedural deficit hypothesis claims that impaired procedural learning is a causal risk factor for developmental dyslexia and developmental language disorder. We investigated the relationships between measures of basic cognitive processes (declarative learning, procedural learning and attention) and measures of attainment (reading, grammar and...
Article
Full-text available
It is now widely accepted that phonological language skills are a critical foundation for learning to read (decode). This longitudinal study investigated the predictive relationship between a range of key phonological language skills and early reading development in a sample of 191 children in their first year at school. The study also explored the...
Article
Full-text available
The procedural deficit hypothesis claims that impaired procedural learning is at least partly responsible for the deficits in learning to read seen in children with developmental dyslexia. This study used a reading ability‐matched design to examine group differences in both procedural and declarative learning. Both children with dyslexia and typica...
Article
West et al. (2018) examined the relationship between implicit learning and reading and language attainment in 7‐ to 8‐year‐old children. The implicit learning tasks had poor reliability and did not correlate with language or reading skills. These findings raise problems for the claim that Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) and Dyslexia are cause...
Preprint
The procedural deficit hypothesis attributes developmental language deficits such as those found in developmental dyslexia and developmental language disorder, at least in part, to impaired procedural learning. In order to test this hypothesis we investigated the relationships between measures of basic cognitive processes (declarative learning, pro...
Conference Paper
Impaired procedural learning has been suggested as a possible cause of developmental language disorder and dyslexia (Nicolson & Fawcett, 2007; Ullman & Pierpont, 2005). However, studies investigating this hypothesis have so far delivered inconsistent results. These studies typically use extreme group designs, frequently with small sample sizes and...
Article
Full-text available
Impaired procedural learning has been suggested as a possible cause of developmental dyslexia (DD) and specific language impairment (SLI). This study examined the relationship between measures of verbal and non-verbal implicit and explicit learning and measures of language, literacy and arithmetic attainment in a large sample of 7 to 8-year-old chi...
Article
Full-text available
Over the last century, sporadic research has suggested that people whose hand, eye, foot, or ear dominances are not consistently right- or left-sided are at special risk of suffering academic difficulties. This phenomenon is known as crossed laterality. Although the bulk of this research dates from 1960’s and 1970’s, crossed laterality is becoming...
Preprint
Over the last century, sporadic research has suggested that people whose hand, eye, foot, or ear dominances are not consistently right- or left-sided are at special risk of suffering academic difficulties. This phenomenon is known as crossed laterality. Although the bulk of this research dates from 1960’s and 1970’s, crossed laterality is becoming...

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Projects

Project (1)
Project
The study of unconscious cognitive processes is becoming one of the most vibrant and promising areas of research in psychological science. Many of these studies adopt the view, supported by a large volume of research, that elementary learning and memory processes demand few cognitive resources and can take place in the absence of awareness. This includes popular effects like sequence learning, artificial grammar learning, or visual statistical learning. The most common strategy to show that these effects are unconscious relies on a simple dissociation: After repeated exposure to a set of materials, participants become faster or more accurate at responding to these stimuli, revealing successful learning. However, when asked whether they recognise having been exposed to these stimuli in the past, they say no or they seem to be unable to discriminate between the stimuli they have seen and completely new stimuli. Furthermore, their score in this awareness test seems to be uncorrelated with performance in the learning task. In all cases, the lack of awareness is inferred from a null statistical result. In previous studies, we have claimed that this strategy is methodologically unsound because null results have an ambiguous interpretation in traditional, null hypothesis significance testing: They can mean that the null hypothesis is true or simply that the data are not sensitive enough to discriminate between the null and the alternative hypothesis. In the present project, we will highlight an additional problem in the interpretation of these results: The limited reliability of the dependent measures used to quantify learning and awareness. Our preliminary results suggest that, at least in the case of contextual cueing –an increasingly popular implicit learning paradigm– these reliabilities might be in the order of .10 to .20. The main goal of the present proposal is to explore and ameliorate the impact of low reliability in implicit cognition research. We will conduct several large-scale studies to estimate the reliability of the measures collected in contextual cueing and other implicit learning paradigms (probabilistic cueing of visual attention and multiple-cue probability learning). This information will allow us to use cutting-edge meta-analytic methods designed to correct for the attenuating effect of low reliability. The results of these meta-analyses can change dramatically our understanding of implicit learning, revealing, for instance, that the contribution of awareness to these effects is much larger than previously thought. If these reliabilities turn out to be as low as we expect, then it also follows that much of the applied research showing large and significant correlations between implicit learning processes and personal characteristics, like specific language impairment or dyslexia, must be biased, possibly due to selective publication or selective reporting. Our research will explore this possibility by using new methods for the detection and correction of these biases. Finally, the present proposal will devise new analytic methods, based on Bayesian hypothesis testing and computational modeling, to overcome the limitations of previous research on implicit learning.