Diﬀerential relationships between RAN performance,
behaviour ratings, and executive function measures:
Searching for a double dissociation
RONALD W. STRINGER
, MAGGIE E. TOPLAK
and KEITH E. STANOVICH
McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada;
York University, Toronto, Ontario,
University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
Abstract. In this study, we investigated the relationships between rapid naming of let-
ters, digits and colours, and reading ability and executive function. We gave ﬁfty-six
grade three and four children rapid automatised naming tasks using letters and digits
as stimuli, executive function measures including the Stroop task, a working memory
task and the Trailmaking B task. The latter three tasks were used as measures of
executive function. We also administered tests of verbal ability, reading and a behav-
iour checklist. The rapid naming of letters and digits was signiﬁcantly correlated with
reading, but not with executive function or behaviour ratings. The rapid naming of
colours (from the Stroop task) was signiﬁcantly correlated with the executive function
tasks and the behaviour ratings but not with reading. We discuss the implications of
this double dissociation for further studies of RAN.
Key words: Behaviour ratings, Executive function, Reading, Rapid automatised nam-
ing, Rapid colour naming
Abbreviations: RAN, rapid automatised naming; RANC, rapid automatised naming
of colours; RAND, rapid automatised naming of digits; RANL, rapid automatised
naming of letters; RANO, rapid automatised naming of objects.
Connections between performance on naming tasks (particularly the
naming of colours) and reading ability have been hypothesized for over
35 years (Geschwind, 1965; Geschwind & Fusillo, 1966). Denckla and
others demonstrated in the early 1970s that the speed with which par-
ticipants can name colours, objects, letters or digits is correlated with
their reading performance (Denckla, 1972; Denckla & Rudel, 1974).
This ﬁnding has since been replicated many times (see Denckla & Cut-
ting, 1999; Wolf & Bowers, 1999; Wolf, Bowers, & Biddle, 2000; for
recent reviews). The initial observation of this correlation has been
reﬁned over the years by virtue of extensive research. The speed with
Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal 17: 891–914, 2004.
Ó 2004 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.