Mental Retardation: The Developmental-Difference Controversy

By Edward Zigler; David Balla | Go to book overview

tively different from those not suffering from specific organic deficits. This could mean that much of the support found for the conventional difference position is an artifact of organic impairment in the retarded samples. However, the data reviewed here do not yet warrant such a conclusion. This is because mean IQS in the samples that included organically impaired subjects were generally lower than mean IQs of the screened samples. Thus, IQ level and organicity are confounded across the studies reviewed. To generate more definitive evidence on the two-group approach in the future, investigators will need to accomplish the difficult task of disentangling organicity and IQ level by structuring designs in which the two factors are orthogonal.


OVERVIEW AND CONCLUDING COMMENTS

We have now examined a sizeable fund of Piagetian evidence, all of it relevant to the similar-sequence hypothesis, the similar-structure hypothesis, or both. Our review has revealed rather consistent support for the similar-sequence hypothesis, and somewhat equivocal support for the similar-structure hypothesis. As we noted earlier, many studies relevant to both hypotheses can be faulted on methodological grounds. Yet, pulling this evidence together and evaluating it can be a useful means of distilling what is known and retargeting our pursuit of knowledge in the future. A similar service is needed in domains of research other than Piagetian. Because of its vigorous cognitive-developmental emphasis, evidence from the Genevan tradition is certainly an appropriate focus for a review on the status of the developmental-difference controversy. But, as other chapters in this book illustrate, the controversy addresses numerous processes of learning and reasoning that fall outside the range of Piagetian theory. Some of these processes have stimulated sufficient research by now that they too warrant critical analysis of the sort undertaken here. It is through such analysis, critical in its perspective and ever broadening in its purview, that we may best consolidate the gains in knowledge stimulated by this important theoretical debate.


REFERENCES

Abel T. M. "Moral judgments among subnormals". Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1941, 36, 378-392.

Achenbach T. M. "Conservation of illusion-distorted identity: Its relation to MA and CA in normals and retardates". Child Development, 1969, 40, 663-679.

Achenbach T. M. "Comparison of Stanford-Binet performance of nonretarded and retarded persons matched for MA and sex". American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 1970, 74, 488-494.

Achenbach T. M. "Stanford-Binet Short-Form performance of retarded and nonretarded persons matched for MA". American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 1971, 76, 30-32.

Achenbach T. M. "Surprise and memory as indices of concrete operational development". Psychological Reports, 1973, 33, 47-57.

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