Handbook of Mental Deficiency: Psychological Theory and Research

By Norman R. Ellis | Go to book overview

FOREWORD

When Itard undertook to teach the wild boy of Aveyron, with sympathy, patience, and an optimism about the plasticity of the human mind that was characteristic of his time, he engaged the interest of educated men everywhere. He used the most enlightened instructional methods of his time. When he was unable to lead the boy to complete normalcy, he felt himself a failure, and apparently the world agreed with him. An air of hopelessness settled over the retarded and has scarcely been lifted since.

Now, some 165 years later, a new measure is being taken of the problem of mental retardation. There is emerging a reasoned optimism, justified by modest advances in basic knowledge and encouraged by a quickened public conscience. There is also emerging a new strategy that eschews the quick cure but insists that we begin to use the knowledge we already have while intensifying our search for new and basic understandings.

This book is an expression of this last important commitment, a search for new and basic understandings. Though formidable in size, its scope is wisely limited to one domain, to that of behavior; and it seeks to assess where we are and how we may most profitably proceed to build a behavior science for the mentally retarded.

The editor and his colleagues share two important ideas: that mental retardation should not be an isolated study; that, on the contrary, its special problems can best be cast in general behavior theory terms. As a corollary to this, they hold and have here demonstrated that the field of mental retardation offers many opportunities and challenges to the behavioral scientist who has reached a point of no return with his subjects who cannot use

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Handbook of Mental Deficiency: Psychological Theory and Research
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contributors vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xi
  • Contents xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I 9
  • 1 - Field Theory in Mental Deficiency 11
  • Introduction 11
  • References 36
  • 2 - A Social Learning Approach to Mental Retardation 41
  • Summary 86
  • References 86
  • 3 - Hull - Spence Behavior Theory and Mental Deficiency 92
  • Introduction 92
  • A Summing-Up 129
  • References 129
  • 4 - The Stimulus Trace and Behavioral Inadequacy 134
  • Summary 155
  • References 155
  • 5 - The Role of Attention in Retardate Discrimination Learning 159
  • References 220
  • 6 - Intelligence and Brain Damage 224
  • References 251
  • 7 - Genetic Aspects of Intelligent Behavior 253
  • References 291
  • 8 - The Application of Piaget's Theory to Research in Mental Deficiency 297
  • Introduction 297
  • References 323
  • 9 - Social Psychologies of Mental Deficiency 325
  • Summary 348
  • References 348
  • 10 - Psychological Studies of Mental Deficiency in the Soviet Union 353
  • Part II 389
  • 11 - Learning: Verbal, Perceptual-Motor, and Classical Conditioning 391
  • References 420
  • 12 Discrimination Learning 424
  • 12 Discrimination Learning 436
  • 13 - Problem - Solving and Conceptual Behavior 439
  • Conclusions 458
  • References 458
  • 14 - Sensory Processes and Mental Deficiency 463
  • Summary 476
  • References 476
  • 15 - Perceptual Processes 480
  • Conclusions 506
  • References 507
  • 16 - Language and Communication of Mental Defectives 512
  • Introduction 512
  • Summary and Overview 550
  • References 550
  • 17 - Psychophysiological Studies in Mental Deficiency 556
  • 17 - Psychophysiological Studies in Mental Deficiency 569
  • References 571
  • 18 - Abnormal Behavior and Mental Deficiency 574
  • Introduction 574
  • Summary and Conclusions 595
  • References 595
  • 19 - Motor Skills in Mental Deficiency 602
  • Summary 626
  • References 626
  • 20 - Research in Activity Level 632
  • Summary 657
  • References 657
  • 21 - Academic Skills 664
  • Summary 687
  • References 687
  • Contributors 691
  • Name Index 699
  • Subject Index 713
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