Handbook of Mental Deficiency: Psychological Theory and Research

By Norman R. Ellis | Go to book overview

dramatically altered performance in comparison with reproduction data, showing significantly better perceptual ability than would have been suspected from the reproduction data alone.

Garner, Hake, and Eriksen ( 1956), in discussing how response processes can affect the nature of response rather than the perceptual system, note the importance of the set of responses E provides S. In one example, they note how the number of response alternatives afforded S may affect the amount of error in discrimination. That such an issue has direct relevance to research with retardates can be noted in the study of Ohwaki ( 1953). Ohwaki was interested in examining how retarded Ss discriminate weight when size of the stimuli is held constant. He first had them compare 3-, 15-, and 30-gram boxes. He noted that all of his Ss could successfully discriminate between the 3- and 30-gram boxes. He then required them to arrange, in order of weight, three, four, and five such boxes, all differing in weight by 30 grams, a difference all were capable of discriminating when only two boxes were involved. No S with an MA under 4 could perform any of these tasks. With the higher-MA Ss, the task was harder the more boxes involved, and the higher the MA, the better the performance with any one set of boxes. Even in his highest-MA group (6.0 to 11.0) 2 out of 12 failed with three boxes, 3 out of 12 with four boxes, and 7 out of 12 with five boxes. It is clear that these failures did not reflect the inability to discriminate a difference of 30 grams, but rather other response characteristics which were elicited by the way the task was constructed.

The issue that probably demands the greatest vigilance, offers the most subtle confounding potential, and yet is the most difficult to control and manipulate is that of S's set to the experiment as a whole and the tasks given in particular. If a crucial element in perceptual research is the contingent relationship between stimulus and response, it behooves E to maximize the probability that S understands what he is to do and is attending and responding to the stimulus as defined by E. S enters with certain expectations regarding success and failure, he establishes a relationship with E, and he wonders how he is doing and what will happen to him as a consequence of what he does. Initial work has suggested that retarded Ss do have different expectancies regarding success and failure and that this affects their response to success and failure in the experimental situation ( Cromwell, 1959). The findings of Stevenson and Zigler ( 1957) and Keller ( 1958) indicate that both BI and NBI retarded Ss are sensitive to the investigator as a stimulus to which they respond and from whom they extract cues as to how they "should" perform. In all likelihood, it is the rare study that includes in its printed form the various exceptions to the formal instructions necessary in actually preparing S. Perhaps we all owe it to our colleagues to draw as complete a picture as possible of what was actually said to S, and of those difficulties encountered in working with him.


CONCLUSIONS

The studies completed to date reveal a number of varied and interesting findings and raise even more challenging questions. However, the paucity

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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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