Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Effect of gingo biloba on CHC abilities

If you are above 40+ years of age and are trying to sift through the sea of information on the use of vitamins and supplements to enhance/maitain your cognitive dignity (as you age), you might wnat to keep an eye out for the following "in press" journal article. Of particular interest to the readers of this blog was the organization of the experimental measures as per CHC theory (Gf, Glr, etc.) and, use of tests from a cognitive battery specifically designed as per this theoretical framework (WJ-R; conflict of disclosure...I'm a coauthor on the WJ III)

  • Burns, N., Bryan, J., & Nettelbeck, T. (in press) Ginkgo biloba: No robust effect on cognitive abilities or mood in healthy young or older adults. Human Psychopharmacology

In general, in this 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, gingo biloba was not found to prouduce significant/robust improvement in cognitive performance on a wide range of cognitive ability measures (Gf, Gc, Glr, Gsm, Gs), executive function, attention and mood in 93 healthy older adults (55–79 years) and in 104 young adults (18–43 years). The one significant finding, in the older adult sample, was improvement in long-term memory (Glr) assessed by associational learning tasks (WJ-R Visual-Auditory Learning; WJ-R Delayed Recall--VAL) [d=0.52].

Of course....replication...replication...replication is in order. But, when I next find myself in a Walgreens/Walmart store, I just might pick up some gingo biloba as a preventative measure for any possible Glr decline in my personal cortex.

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Off task - Panama canal 1 week video in 11 minutes

Need a visual break? See time-lapse video of Panama Canal activity for 1 week compressed into 11 minutes.

Tech tidbit: Firefox v1.5 available

For those who prefer Firefox as their browser (me included), v1.5 is now available for download. I like it much better than Microsoft's IE.

Mind mapping software - improve learning and knowledge organization

I've been a heavy user of Mind Manager's mind map software for a couple of years. I LOVE it. It allows me to organize information and my thoughts and ideas in a manner that seems to resemble the Gv (visual-spatial) way I think. Over on the Pegasus Book Club blog is a very positive review and description of this powerful piece of software.

I give it three thumbs up :)

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fMRI brain scans predict game performance

The explosion of interestin fMRI research is mind boggling. Now, over at the Science Blog, is a post re: a study where fMRI scans were used to predict (with 70% accuracy) subsequent success on a simple visual game.

What's next? fMFRI prediction of XBOX 360 game performance?

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Blogging with blisters

If the quality of my blog posts decrease over the next few days, it is because I am now a blogster with a disability (BOD).

In a moment of absent-minded professorism, I, approximately 15 minutes ago (for some reason--it must have something to do with chaos theory) put two of my fingers directly on the heating element of one of those small coffee brewers in my hotel room. OUCH...those are HOT. My fingers, despite icing, are throbbing.

But I shall attempt to carry on. Blogging with blisters!!!!!!

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Another ADD/ADHD podcast surfaces

I've become aware of yet another ADD/ADHD podcast for those who are interested in this topic and this interesting technology.

This now makes two ADD/ADHD podcasts to surface in the past week. Any other podcasts out there dealing with topics related to my blog?

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WISC-III Arithmetic test: CFA with WJ III

Ok....I'm officially a geek. I'm having lunch at a grant-related mtg in DC and making a post to my blog in response to a thread on the IAPCHC listserv that I received via wifi during the meeting (yes...I can get a bit distracted when asked to sit all day)
The following question was posted to the listserv today:
  • "The Arithmetic subtest on the WISC seems to be a lost child trying to find a home. On the WISC III it was in the VCI which was primarily a Gc area, then on the WISC IV it falls within the Gsm area. But when I read the WISC Essentials book, Arithmetic is used to help find Gf. Of course, it goes without saying (or does it) that Arit falls under Gq.
  • Arithmetic really a lost child? Does it have a home or does it have multiple homes (a mansion, townhome, and a small studio). "
A recent joint CFA study of the WISC-III and WJ III (Phelps, McGrew, Knopik & Ford, 2005) found, when evaluated within the context of a relatively "complete" set of CHC indicators, the WISC-III Arithmetic test is primarily a measure of Gq (.60+ loading) , with some possible low Gs variance (.20+ loading).

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Gv - two types of visual-spatial processing types?

Another great post on my favorite blog - Eide Neurolearning Blog. A report (link to pdf copy of journal article provided) regarding different Gv (visual-spatial) processing "types."

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Monday, November 28, 2005

More on creativity (Glr?) and bipolar disorder

In a prior post I linked readers to a Science Blog post re: creativity (cognitive portions that typically fall under long-term retrieval, Glr, as per CHC theory) and bipolar disorder. The Eide Neurolearning blog has also noted this research, and more importantly, also provide a link to a pdf copy of the research article. Thanks again to the ENL blog.

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Synaptic health - the brain

Over at the Science Blog is a post about maintaining the health of synaptic connections in the brain.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Podcasts, on-the-road, ISIR, misc

I hope all of you had a pleasant turkey holiday (those readers in the US). I'm hitting the road for the next 6 days...two days in Washington, DC for a technical work group advisory meeting on a national special education center grant on alternative assessments (for kids with disabilities) and then attendance (and presenting) at the International Society for the Study of Intelligence (ISIR) conference in Albuquerque, NM. Just a few tidbits before departing:

  • I have heard much about podcasting and tonight discovered the first (for me) podcast dealing with a topic related to this blog. I've only listened to one session, but thought others might want to see what the podcast buzz is all about. Check out the ADHD Podcaster blog....very interesting technology. I wonder if people would like to hear my voice musing over topics, etc. Comments anyone?
  • The following idea is NOT a promise...just a wild idea. I'm toying with the idea of blogging live (technically not live....more "delayed but on site") from the ISIR conference. If I can focus and the technology works, I might try posting regular updates re: the latest and greatest breaking news and tidbits from the premiere intelligence research conference (ISIR). Stay tunned. If I do, I will send a few FYI notes to the NASP and CHC listservs (any other listservs people think might be interested? Post a "comment" if you have a recommendation.)
  • I will continue to monitor the pulse of other related blogs and hope to continue regular posts while on the road........
"On the road again......."

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Friday, November 25, 2005

Your brain under hypnosis - fMRI research

Recent research re: fMRI of the brain while under hypnoses has been receiving considerable coverage, esp. in the popular press. Here is a link to coverage in the NY Times.

Nature vs nurture from "down under"

More on nature vs narture...this time from "down under."

Keywords: Genetics newspaper article

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Monday, November 21, 2005

Defintion and explanation of Glr (long-term retrieval)

Over on the IAPCHC listserv there has been a thread touching on the definition of Glr and Gsm (primarily Glr). As per CHC theory, there is often confusion re: the definition of Glr given the clinical meaning that has become associated with the term "long-term memory" over the years.

Below is some text from the Flanagan, McGrew ( conflict of interest buy the book I can buy a latte) and Ortiz Wechsler Gf-Gc (CHC) book. Emphasis has been added by the blog master.

Long Term Storage and Retrieval (Glr)
  • Long Term Storage and Retrieval is the ability to store information in and fluently retrieve new or previously acquired information (e.g., concepts, ideas, items, names) from long term memory. Glr abilities have been prominent in creativity research where they have been referred to as idea production, ideational fluency, or associative fluency. It is important to not confuse Glr with Gc, Gq, and Grw, a person's stores of acquired knowledge. That is, Gc, Gq, and Grw represent what is stored in long term memory, while Glr is the efficiency by which this information is initially stored in and later retrieved from long term memory. Using the fishing net analogy [Editorial Blog note - this is inserted below] from the prior discussion of Gc abilities (where the nodes and links of the net represent the knowledge that is stored in long-term memory), Glr is the process by which individuals efficiently add new nodes and links to their “fishing net” of stored knowledge then later use these additional nodes and links when retrieving information.
  • Different processes are involved in Glr and Gsm. Although the word "long term" frequently carries with it the connotation of days, weeks, months, and years in the clinical literature, long term storage processes can begin within a few minutes or hours of performing a task. Therefore, the amount of time that lapses between the initial task performance and the recall of information related to that task is not of critical importance in defining Glr.

Fishing net acquired knowledge (Gc, Gq, Grw) metaphor

  • Schematically, Gc might be represented by the interconnected nodes of a fishing net. Each node of the net represents an acquired piece of information, and the filaments between nodes (with many possible filaments leading to and from multiple nodes) represent links between different bits of stored information. A person high in Gc abilities would have a rich “fishing net” of information as represented by many meaningfully organized and interconnected nodes. Gc is one of the abilities mentioned most often by lay persons when they are asked to describe an “intelligent” person (Horn, 1988). The image of a sage captures to a large extent the essence of Gc.
  • [Bog editorial comment - in this explanation, Glr is the process of adding new nodes and then, later, doing a "hard target" search to locate and extract/retrieve information in different nodes - Glr is not the content or the node]
Keywords: Glr Gsm Gc CHC acquired knowledge Wechsler teaching tool

Gender brain differences in spatial (Gv) navigation

A post (and link to the journal article) at the Eide Neurolearning blog re: an fMRI study of gender differences in spatial (Gv) navigation.

Keywords: fMRI Gv visual-spatial gender [Note...I'm going to start adding keywords to posts so I can more readily build topic index URL links at the home page of this blog]

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Prental genetic testing and bioethics

Very thought provoking article regarding the intersections of prenatal genetic testing and disabilities in the NY Times.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

ADHD - Dr. Denkla article

Thanks to Myomancy for the FYI link to the brief article "No self control? ADHD mirrors the immature brain" by Dr. Martha Denkla

CHC teaching tools - Gt, Glr and Gf game examples

Here are more fun CHC teaching tools that might be used to explain reaction time (Gt) test paradigms, Glr, and Gf (RQ-quantitative reasoning)

Keywords: CHC teaching tool Gt Glr Gf Gq

CHC teaching tools - Gv game example

One of my favorite sites for keeping abreast of new software and downloads is the Download Squad. Almost evey day they post "today's time-waster" which features a new game.

I've now realized that some of these on-line games might serve as interesting tools for presenting examples of CHC abilities to educators, students, parents and lieu of showing test items. Today they poasted a note about Flash Tangrams, a version of a game many of us played as kids. IMHO it would make a decent example of Gv tests/tasks that require SR (Spatial Relations)/Vz (Vizualization).

The other day I posted a note about another example of a possible measure of verbal planning.

Keywords: Gv CHC teaching tool planning

Drugs to erase Glr memories?

The latest Scientific American is out and has an article about the use of special drugs to erase traumatic/bad memories (Glr?). At my age, I need one to help me remember where I leave things.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Working memory topic index

I just figured out a relatively painless way for me, a blog guy who as very limited web page design skills, to create an index of related topic posts on this blog (to allow people to find related posts). It is crude at this stage and may be made to look prettier in the future. For now function trumps form.

In time, now that I have an easy way to do this, I will add "topic index" URL links to the blog roll side of my home blog page (the right hand side with the other links). Be patient...this is a one man operation. More topic index pages to follow.

The first topic index is "working memory." Enjoy

MIT $100 laptop educational project

I had previously heard rumors that MIT researchers were attempting to develop a $100 laptop in order to revolutionalize the use of computers in education (by making them simple and affordable and kid-proof). I know see this to be a project that is underway. Click here. Interesting.

CHC teaching tools - Verbal "Planning"

I recall sitting around with a neuropsych type a number of years ago disucssing the Tower of London test as a measure of planning (forward thinking). The conversation moved to a possible verbal planning test. he mentioned the idea of the classic game "20 questions." Today, over at the Download Squad, I noticed a post about a new version of this game. Check it out and see what cognitive processes you think are involved.

Curious minds want to know.

Keywords: CHC teaching tool planning executive function

More on attentional blink - some distraction is good?

Thanks to Cognitive Dailey for more information re: attentional blink and new research study that suggests that some level of distraction may actually help with attention.

Hmmmmmmmmmm. Maybe there is hope yet for me......I suffer from AA-ADD --"adult-activated ADD"

Dynamic brain modeling of reading and spelling

Check out a post at the Eide Neurolearning blog for an interesting summary (and links to articles) of dyanamic causal modeling of reading and spelling in the brain. Thanks ENB.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

NPR's "My lobotomy" story

Howard Dully's "My lobotomy" journey summary story. An interesting story.

WJ III CHC domain-specific academic hypotheses

Over the past 4-5 years I, together with a number of colleagues (Tim Keith, Gordon Taub, Randy Floyd, Jeff Evans) have together, and separately, completed a wide variety of multivariate analyses with the WJ III norm data. These analyses have focused on identifying the CHC abilities (and WJ III measures of those abilities) most strongly associated with beginning reading and math. These analyses have included step-wise multiple regression and structural equation modeling.

Whenever I've presented these findings at workshops, I've tried to distill the essence of these published and unpublished findings in visual-graphic form. I've found that participants find these summaries particularly helpful.

By clicking here you can view/download a pdf copy of four of my PPT summary slides. I believe the slides are self-explanatory.

The gist is that the slides attempt to show which CHC abilities, as measured by the WJ III clusters/tests, are most associated with beginning reading and math achievement. The most unique information is the last column where I list the most important WJ III tests. This column represents my arm-chair synthesis of a series of unpublished step-wise (backward stepping) multiple regression of the WJ III norm data where all relevant cognitive measures (from the WJ III Cog, the WJ III Diagnostic Supplement; the language tests from the WJ III Ach) were entered as possible predictors.

It is important to note that the WJ III authors recommend interpretation at the cluster score level, but sometimes knowledge of the most potent individual test predictors might be useful. It is hoped this information may help as assessment professionals work to develop new and more flexible selective/referral-focused assessment and screening in light of future changes in special education assessment models. Not all kids need "full" batteries. Selective and judicious use of important predictors/markers might be useful in early screening together with measures of basic academic skills.

Potential conflict of interest noted in my blog profile, I am a WJ III coauthor.


LD, mice, and cholesterol drugs - what in common?

Click here for the answer. Who knows where this stuff will lead decades from now.

Quantoid Lesson - Composite standard scores will not necessarily equal the ave of the test SSs

I continue to field emails (not a large number...but a sufficient quantity to result in this post) for an explanation why the WJ III cluster standard scores often do not approximate the arithmetic average of the test standard scores that comprise a particular cluster.

I remembered writing about this in 1994 with regard to the WJ-R Broad Cognitive Ability cluster score. So, I scanned those pages into a pdf and they are now available by clicking here.

Diagnostic checklists - cautions being raised

The Mind Hacks blog has an interesting post (with links) to some questions raised about the over-reliance on diagnostic checklists, esp. as they relate to DSM

Mental time keeping - more on Interactive Metroome

In a prior post I presented some interesting information on a research projet I was involved with that evaluated the effect of synchronoized metronome tapping (Interactive Metronome in particular) on school achievement. In that post I also provided links to an interesting background neuroscience article. The Myomancy Blog has just posted some new additional information.

Tic....tic.....tic.........the mental time keeper. Something is happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear......

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The other g-factor book - general intelligence

Not all scholars and practitioners in the field of intelligence theory and testing are aware that there is another "g-factor" book aside from the classic" g-factor" book by Jensen.

John Brand published his VERY controversial g-factor book in 1996 and after a major uproar, it was pulled from print.

This blog takes no position on the conclusions, outcomes, or recommendations in this latent scholarly work, but has recently learned that Dr. Brand makes a copy of the banned book available for free downloading. Click here to visit the site.

Interested readers might want to Google his name and book title to find considerable information regarding the controversy surrounding.

Sir Francis Galton

Ran across an informative web site devoted to Sir. Francis Galton this evening.

Transition assessment and planning

FYI for those interested in assessment and planning for the transition of students with disabilities. Check out the National Standards and Quality Indicators: Transition Toolkit for Systems Improvement. I've reviewed this document and have worked closely with the primary PI (David R. Johnson) at the University of Minnesota on a number of grants. This is quality work and, according to David, is in huge demand across the country.

Book to note: School Neuropsycholgical Assessment

Some email exchanges regarding practical neuropsych books on the NASP listserv today. One book that appears to be practical and which has received good reviews is "School Neuropsychology: A Practitioner's Handbook" by James Hale and Catherine Fiorello. I've not read it myself (hey...Jim/ this free plug worth a complimentary copy?)

I'm very familiar with the work of both Jim and Cathy (Cathy in particular), and am always impressed with their research and writing, esp. since they have a CHC-bent to cognitive assessment. Below are some review snipets and references (with a link to one of the journal book reviews)

  • "Finally, another neuropsychology book geared to practitioners! This much-needed volume integrates brain-behavior relationships within an educational context. Recent research has made clear that we cannot understand individuals without studying neuropsychology, yet few resources like this one exist. Practitioners, researchers, and students will find a variety of cases, figures, forms, and charts that are helpful in the daily practice of school psychology. The text is written in a user-friendly fashion, offers a variety of essential neuropsychological information, and comprehensively reviews related assessment activities, while focusing on interventions. In sum, it offers the beginning knowledge base that is missing from so many school psychology programs."--Rik Carl D'Amato, PhD, Editor, School Psychology Quarterly; College of Education, University of Northern Colorado
  • "Hale and Fiorello have met their goal in this book, providing a clearly written, data-based survey of the child-centered brain and behavior literature. Clinically relevant and user-friendly, this book will serve as a primary text in beginning-level graduate neuropsychology courses, and as a supplemental text in cognitive assessment courses. It is also a useful reference for clinicians and researchers working with children and adolescents."--Vincent C. Alfonso, PhD, Graduate School of Education, Fordham University
  • "This unique volume brings together the fundamentals of neuropsychology and brain organization with discussions of specific neurodevelopmental syndromes, their impact on learning and behavior, and practical issues of diagnosis and remediation. State-of-the-art knowledge is presented in a reader-friendly, engaging manner. This book will be an invaluable reference and guide for school psychologists, child neuropsychologists, child psychiatrists, special education professionals, and anyone else concerned with brain-behavior relationships in the educational context."--Elkhonon Goldberg, PhD, Department of Neurology, New York University School of Medicine (NOTE: Dr. Goldberg is one of Luria's former students)
  • "This is a critically needed handbook, especially for those neuropsychologists new to the pediatric realm, and the authors have provided a very useful text to meet these objectives....a highly accessible book for anyone with a background in neuropsychology seeking to expand his or her knowledge to include pediatric assessment in an educational setting."--Doody's Electronic Journal

There are other more comprehensive journal reviews available, including one in Psychology in the Schools and Child Neuropsychology:

Child Neuropsychology
Issue: Volume 11, Number 2 / April 2005
Pages: 231 - 232
A REVIEW OF "SCHOOL NEUROPSYCHOLOGY: A PRACTITIONER'S HANDBOOK" James B. Hale & Catherine A. Fiorello (2004): New York: Guilford by Jennifer R. Hiemenz

Psychology in the Schools
Volume 42, Issue 4 , Pages 452 - 453/ March 2005
Book Review
School neuropsychology: A practitioner's handbook
by Elizabeth Chesno Grier

fMRI of copperation and competition is now official. The content of this blog is much broader than the original title suggests. There is just so much interesting information....and so little time.

Over on one of my favorite blogs (Eide Neurolearning) is yet more fMRI reseach, this time on the brain and cooperation and competition. There is obviously an explosion of fMRI research these days, and given that it deals directly with the brain, which is the latent playground of those of us who are interested in cognitive assesment, I'm going to continue to provide these fyi posts.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Sleep, ADHD and school performance

Thanks to the Myomancy Blog for the FYI post on a recent study investigating the effect of children's sleep on school performance and ADHD.

Attention - Attentional blink

VERY interesting post (with fun little experimental simulations to try) over on Cognitive Dailey regarding attention, and the phenomen of the "attentional blink." Worth a look.

To supplement what is provided by the CD blog (one of my favorites), I've tracked down the article that is referred and it can be viewed by clicking here.

Intellectual sidebar - NOVA show on the mind of Isaac Newton

For those interested in the minds of great scientists. Nova will be airing an interesting story ("More on his mind than gravity") on the strange and complex mind of Sir Isaac Newton.

Wechsler Block Design error analysis references

Thanks to James Hale who, over on the NASP listerv, provided some references regarding error analyses of performance on the Wechsler Block Design test.

As stated by James Hale in regard to Block Design error analysis thread:

"There have been several interesting studies looking at block design error analyses. Edith Kaplan and Dean Delis have written extensively on the BD error patterns, and several other studies have looked at global-right hemisphere/local-left hemisphere errors, and how this relates to processing speed and cognitive development. For example:
  • Moses et al. (2000) Functional MRI of Global and Local Processing in Children. NeuroImage, 16, 415-424.
  • Schatz et al. (2000). A Hierarchical Analysis of Block Design Errors in Children With Early Focal Brain Damage, Developmental Neuropsychology, 17, 75-83 (click here to view article)
I also located the following in the IAP Reference Database a free on-line searchable reference database of literature hand selected by this blogmaster over the past 10-15 years.
  • Jones, R. S., & Torgesen, J. K. (1981). Analysis of behaviors involved in performance of the Block Design Subtest of the WISC-R. Intelligence, 5(4), 321-328. (click here to view article)
  • Vasterling, J. J., Rogers, C., & Kaplan, E. (2000). Qualitative block design analysis in posttraumatic stress disorder. Assessment, 7(3), 217-226.
Finally, the Siskel and Ebert of school psychology (Willis and Dumont) also have useful information at their web page---"As the block turns."

And the list continues. Joel Schneider just sent me yet another article related to Block Design performance. Click here to view.
  • Rozencqaga, P & Corroyerb, D. (2001). Strategy development in a block design task. Intelligence 30 (2001) 1–25

Prenatal brain development and the womb

Paper presented at Society of Neuroscience conference (this week) on the womb and prental brain development. Thanks to one of my favorite blogs (Science Blog) for the fyi post.

Off task - just struck me as funny

Monday, November 14, 2005

Off task - Harry Potter and government?

I've never read a Harry Potter book, nor have I seen any of the movies. But I know HP is a huge success. The Social Science Research Network has recently published information about a review in a forthcomming issue of the Michigan Law Review regarding the view of governement presented in the books. Who woulda thunk?

Elderly and activitation of the frontal lobe - positive news

From over on the Science Blog an encouraging article on the ability of elderly to activate the frontal lobes when facing challenging cognitive tasks.

Latest Nature Neuroscience papers posted

The latest Nature Neuroscience papers have been posted to their new blog. Very specific and technical stuff that is a bit more than esoteric for the readers of my blog. However, the readers of this blog might be interested in the article about the "Neural correlates of actual and predicted memory performance." Warning....access to the abstracts is all that is provided, unless you want to subscibe to their full article text service.

Quote to note: What is "normal?"

Ellen Goodman

  • "Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for - in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it."

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Tech tidbit: Firefox vs Int Explorer

Last year I switched form Bill's (as in Bill Gates) Internet Explorer web browswer to Firefox. I love it. Less gunky, more secure, etc. If you want more information, check out a post re: "Kill Bill's Browser."

Cognitive efficiency and cognitive load theory instruction

As more and more of us CHC-types integrate CHC abilities within an information processing framework, it is becomming clear to me that recent developments in Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) may have particular importance to helping us design instructional methods to better match the CHC/information processing characteristics of learners. In particular, anecdotal reports on various clinical listervs, as well as empirical research I've completed (as well as others - click here 1; click here 2), suggests that a person's "cognitive efficiency" (the combination of Gs and Gsm-Wm [working memory]) may have a major bearing on learning efficiency.

As I read the CLT literature, I can't help but see a connection between individual assessment information regarding a person's cognitive efficiency and the development of instructional approaches/materials based on CLT. Click here to read a good overview of CLT (the article listed below).

vanMerrienboer, J. J. G., & Sweller, J. (2005). Cognitive load theory and complex learning: Recent developments and future directions. Educational Psychology Review, 17(2), 147-177.


Traditionally, Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) has focused on instructional methods to decrease extraneous cognitive load so that available cognitive resources can be fully devoted to learning. This article strengthens the cognitive base of CLT by linking cognitive processes to the processes used by biological evolution. The article discusses recent developments in CLT related to the current view in instructional design that real-life tasks should be the driving force for complex learning. First, the complexity, or intrinsic cognitive load, of such tasks is often high so that new methods are needed to manage cognitive load. Second, complex learning is a lengthy process requiring learnersrsquo motivational states and levels of expertise development to be taken into account. Third, this perspective requires more advanced methods to measure expertise and cognitive load so that instruction can be flexibly adapted to individual learnersrsquo needs. Experimental studies are reviewed to illustrate these recent developments. Guidelines for future research are provided.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Variables predictive of "multitasking"

Finally a study that confirms why I have always had problems making coffee while people talk to me in the morning. Without exception, my working memory becomes "maxed out" and I end up forgetting the grounds, water, or fail to turn the machine on. My less than optimal working memory, and morning-fog attenuated attention, makes multitasking more difficult for me. At least now my suspicions are confirmed. Considerable research over the past decade is identifying working memory as important to performance on a wide variety of human tasks that require complex mental processing (where complexity does not always mean abstract - it can simply be complex in terms of attentional and resource sharing demands on working memory--i.e., a task requires lots of mental juggling of stuff).

König, C. (2005). Working Memory, Fluid Intelligence, and Attention Are Predictors of Multitasking Performance, but Polychronicity and Extraversion are not. Human Performance, 18(3), 243–266

  • This study explored predictors of multitasking performance. Based on cognitive psychology research, attention and working memory were assumed to be predictors. Fluid intelligence, polychronicity (as the preference for multitasking and the belief that their preference is the best way to handle things), and Extraversion were argued to be additional predictors. Multitasking performance was measured with the scenari “Simultaneous capacity/Multi-tasking (SIMKAP)” (n = 122). Hierarchical multiple regression analyses revealed that working memory (Gsm-MW) was the most important predictor in addition to attention and fluid intelligence (Gf). The latter two constructs contributed significantly to the explained variance, but to a lesser extent. Polychronicity was not a significant predictor, nor was Extraversion. Implications for personnel selection and for time management are discussed.

The authors suggest a couple of potential practical implications:

  • In terms of personnel selection, it implies that working memory tests could be used to select people for jobs that require a high amount of multitasking (e.g., pilots; see Maschke & Goeters, 1999). Even though using general mental abilities as a predictor is useful, the incremental validity of working memory in predicting multitasking performance beyond fluid intelligence provided support for an enhanced selection procedure.
  • A second implication concerns time management because multitasking is a time-management strategy (cf. Britton & Tesser, 1991; König & Kleinmann, 2004). Although multitasking has a positive connotation in Britton and Tesser’s (1991) time-management questionnaire, time-management practitioners often advise against multitasking. For example, Mackenzie (1997) wrote “one thing at a time is enough for anybody to beworking on” (p. 122). Our results can offer a solution to this controversy: Multitasking might only be an effective time-management strategy for people with a large working memory capacity. However, if people are not aware of the working memory capacity (which is most likely to be the case in standard time-management training), time-management trainers might stay on the safe side and caution against multitasking as a time-management strategy.
The main contribution of this study to this literature is the linking of basic and applied multitasking research by showing that working memory, a construct deeply rooted in experimental cognitive psychology, is an important predictor of performance in a complex multitasking scenario.

Structure of mental speed (Gs/Gt) and causal effect on fluid reasoning (Gf)

Danthiir, V., Wilhelm, O., Schulze, R., & Roberts, R. D. (2005). Factor structure and validity of paper-and-pencil measures of mental speed: Evidence for a higher-order model? Intelligence, 33(5), 491-514.

An interesting article in Intelligence regarding the possible higher-order structure of mental speed (Gs/Gt) and it’s relation to fluid intelligence (Gf). The contemporary structural research I recently reviewed regarding Gs and Gt provides for a slightly different conclusion (click here for a summary).

The strong reported Gs-to-Gf causal path continues to support the notion that cognitive processing speed, and possibly the larger domain of cognitive efficiency (Gs + Working memory), is important for higher-order thinking. See prior causal research summary that suggests the Gs-to-Gf relation may be more complex than simple Gs-to-Gf.

  • This study explored the structure of elementary cognitive tasks (ECTs) and relations between the corresponding construct(s) with processing speed (Gs) and fluid intelligence (Gf). Participants (N = 321) completed 14 ECTs, 3 Gs, and 6 Gf marker tests, all administered in paper-and-pencil format to reduce potential confounds evident when tasks are presented using different media. Factor analysis of the ECTs resulted in a general mental speed factor, along with several task-class specific factors. General mental speed was indistinguishable from Gs and highly correlated with Gf. Significant correlations were also found between Gf and variance specific to task-class speed factors. The findings point to the non-unitary nature of mental speed and the potentially important role of specific speed factors for examining the relationship between speed and fluid intelligence.

Additional author comments from manuscript

  • The first stated aim of the current study was to investigate the structure of cognitive speed, given there is no agreement in the literature as to whether cognitive speed is a unitary or a non-unitary construct.
  • The current study does add support to the conceptualization of cognitive speed as a multi-dimensional construct.
  • In confirmatory modeling of these tasks, a higher-order model incorporating a general mental speed factor and group factors specific to the Switching, OMO, Substitution, and Hick task classes fit the data well.
  • Due to the preliminary and exploratory nature of this study, only some speculations regarding the substantive nature of the factors will be presented.
  • One possibility is that the task-class specific variance reflects only method variance, as opposed to the speed of carrying out a particular cognitive process or processes not captured by the general speed factor.
  • The second aim, as stated, was to assess the relation between general mental speed, as measured by the ECTs, and Gs. Of note regarding this aim is the very near perfect relationship found between the general mental speed factor of the ECTs and the Gs factor. As mentioned, in this study, Gs was assessed only by tests of Perceptual Speed, making it arguable as to whether this relationship holds in regard to the broad factor of Gs, or the narrower factor of Perceptual Speed.
  • However, the structure of Gs is not well established, and as previously noted, Perceptual Speed is also considered to be a non-unitary factor (e.g., Ackerman et al., 2002; Ackerman & Cianciolo, 2000; French et al., 1963).
  • The third aim of the current study was to examine the relationships between any mental speed factors which were identified and fluid intelligence. In the final structural model, the general mental speed factor was substantially correlated (r = 0.54) with Gf.
  • One consideration that must be emphasized is that the size of the relationship between the speed factors and Gf may be overestimated in these results, due to the fact that time limits were imposed on the tasks used to assess fluid intelligence.

Quantoids corner - a note on g and the "method of correlated vectors"

FYI for the quantoid blogsters who do measurement and research with estimates of g (general intelligence). If any quantoid is up to it, please distill the essence of this article into a few sentences and post them to the "comments" section.

Ashtona, M. & Leeb,K.(2005). The problems with the method of correlated vectors. Intelligence, 33, 431–444

Ga, Glr, Gs and early reading - relative contributions and shared prediction variance

Although the conclusions of this study must be tempered by the small sample size, the study provides some interesting conclusions regarding the potential shared variance between some of the “hot” abilities that have been identified in the early reading literature. Of particular interest is the conclusion that the effect of RAN (Glr-NA) may be mediated via phonological processing (Ga-PC). The relative contribution of such CHC conceptualized abilities as Glr-NA, Gs, and Ga-PC to the prediction of reading are interesting to ponder.

Bowey, J., McGuigan, M. & Ruschena, A. (2005) On the association between serial naming speed for letters and digits and word-reading skill: Towards a developmental account Journal of Research in Reading, 28 (4) 400–422. [Click here to view entire article]

Abstract [Note - CHC ability codes inserted by blogmaster]
  • The current study examined several alternative explanations of the association betwee serial naming speed within fourth-grade children by determining the extent to which the association between word reading [Grw-RD]and naming speed [Glr-NA]for letters and numbers is mediated by global processing speed (Gs], alphanumeric symbol processing efficiency and phonological processing ability [Ga-PC]. Children were given multiple measures of key constructs, i.e. word-level reading, serial naming of both alphanumeric and non-alphanumeric items, phonological processing ability, articulation rate and global processing speed. The robust association between alphanumeric naming speed and reading within fourth-grade children was largely mediated by phonological processing ability. Markedly different patterns of results were observed for naming speed for letters and digits and naming speed for colours and pictures in children of this age. Relative to the latter, alphanumeric naming speed better assesses an underlying phonological processing ability that is common to word-reading ability. We argue that item identification processes contribute little to individual differences in alphanumeric naming speed within relatively proficient readers and that the extent to which alphanumeric naming speed primarily reflects phonological processing is likely to vary with the level of overlearning of letters and numbers and their names.

Relative importance of Ga
  • Overall, our findings suggest that phonological processing ability largely mediates the association between alphanumeric naming speed and reading within children who are beyond the earliest stages of reading acquisition. In our fourth graders, phonological processing ability explained 61% of variance in word reading. The major source of the variance shared by naming speed and word reading was phonological processing ability. Of the 21% of variance shared by alphanumeric naming speed and word reading, only 2% was independent of phonological processing ability; of the 8% of variance shared by non-symbol naming speed and word reading, only 2% was independent of phonological processing ability. However, alphanumeric naming speed shared 19% of variance with phonological processing ability but non-symbol naming speed shared only 6%. Given these findings, it follows that one or more components of the non-symbol naming task that contribute substantially to variance in naming speed are not shared with word reading, phonological processing ability or naming speed for letters and digits.
Relative importance of Gs
  • Replicating previous work, we found that global processing speed was associated with word-reading ability. In our fourth-grade children, global processing speed explained 13% of variance inword reading However, although global processing speed largely mediated the association between non-symbol naming speed and word-reading skill, it did notmediate the association between word-reading skill and serial naming speed for lettersand digits; with global processing speed effects controlled, alphanumeric naming speed still explained 12% of additional variance in reading.
Relative importance of different Glr-NA measures/constructs
  • Our findings revealed the clear need to distinguish between naming speed for letters and digits and naming speed for colours and pictures. Composite measures of alphanumeric and non-symbol naming speed were each significantly correlated with word-level reading, but the association was considerably stronger for alphanumeric naming speed. While naming speed for letters and digits shared 21% of variance with word reading, naming speed for colours and pictures of common objects shared only 8%. The tasks of rapidly naming letters and digits and colours and pictures obviously include the same sub-processes, and our composite measures of these tasks shared 41% of variance. Relative to rapidly naming non-symbol items, alphanumeric naming speed better assesses one or more underlying abilities or additional processing components common to word-reading skill. One candidate is some aspect of automatised orthographic processing (Bowers & Wolf, 1993). According to this view, alphanumeric naming speed predicts variation in word-reading skill independently of phonological processing ability. Indeed, this claim comprises a central argument in the rationale underlying the orthographic processing efficiency account (Bowers & Wolf, 1993; Bowers et al., 1994). Alphanumeric naming speed tasks require children to identify and name a continuous series of letters or single-digit numbers as fast as they can. Non-symbol naming speed tasks differ only in that children are required to name colour patches or pictures of familiar objects. Serial alphanumeric and non-symbol naming tasks thus differ primarily in the familiarity of the items to be identified and named. Letters and numbers are encountered far more frequently than line drawings of objects and within standard fonts are probably identified on the basis of a constrained set of features, making for automatised identification within children of this level of reading development. Our findings revealed quite different patterns of results for naming speed for letters and digits and naming speed for colours and pictures in children of this age. Relative to the latter, alphanumeric naming speed better assesses an underlying phonological processing ability that is common to word-reading ability. The variance shared by alphanumeric naming speed and word reading did not appear to reflect an independent orthographic processing ability. We argue that item identification processes contribute little to individual differences in alphanumeric naming speed within relatively proficient readers. The extent to which alphanumeric naming speed primarily reflects phonological processing is likely to vary with the level of over-learning of letters and numbers and their names, so that predictably different outcomes may be observed in beginning readers and within severely disabled readers.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Glr (tip of tongue) and ASL?

Interesting article on the tip-of-the-tongue phenomena and a similar finding in use of fingers in ASL (Thanks to the BPS blog)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Intelligence testing blog is taking off ?

The above graph shows the trend in blog readership of this blog. I'm happy to see that there has been a noticeable unpward trend in readership over the past few weeks. Can this mean that people are finding this blog useful? It does show that I've got some "regulars" (thanks to all of you).

This is reinforcing to an educational psychologist....concrete data-based feedback.

Please spread the word about this blog.....lets get more readers. If I can get a larger consistent regular readership I might then be able to rationalize spending even more time feeding the blog monster and possibly bringing on other contributors.

Spead the gospel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Gotchya.........I've noticed that the # one search phrase that directs people to my blog is "WISC-III." So...I've made this post just to try catch more traffic, in hopes that once people find this blog, they will become intrigued and will return with regularity.

Yep...the blogmaster can be sneaky :)

Meditation increases brain gray matter?

Hmmmm......fMRI research from prestigious universities suggests that meditation can increase gray matter in your brain. Caveat--n=20. Where the he___ am I going to find time to add meditation to my "aging slowly" strategy?????? It is hard enough to find time for recommended excercise.

Creativity (Glr) and biplor - "touched by fire" - what the blogmaster is reading

I've always been fascinated by the long-held belief that there is a link between 'creativity and madness" (I'm quoting others...don't jump on me for the PC-incorrect use of the word "madness"----just tagging off what has been said by others for years).

Over on the Science Blog is a post re: a new study that tends to support a link between bipolar and creativity. Interesting reading.

This post caught my eye as I'm currently in the middle of reading a book by one of my favorite mental health authors---Kay Redfield Jamison. Dr. Jamison is a psychiatarist who has bipolar disorder. She became well known with the publication of her biographical "The unquiet mind"...probably the best personal description I've read of the disorder from the inside. In addition to The Unquiet Mind, Dr. Jamison also has authored a book that explores the link between creativity and mental illness...."Touched by Fire."

The current book I'm reading is called "Exuberance: The Passion for Life." Reviews of the book have been great with the Washington Post Book World, Seattle Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Discover Magazine all describing it as "one of the best books of the year."

Dr. Jamison has a knack for exploring professional issues in a very readable and entertaining style.

Gender and dyslexia

Over on the Myomancy Blog is a post (and link to a complete 1998 Annals of Dyslexia article) re: dyslexia and gender.

Off task - the Blue Ball Machine

If you need a fun mental break, take a peak at the Blue Ball Machine. It is listed as the 19th top site (today) by Bloglines. It is fun.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

CHC characteristics of neuropsychological tests

An interesting article by Schaie et al. (2005) in Aging, Neuropsychology & Cognition (click here to view and/or is close to 3 MB and might open/download slow if you are on a dial-up).

Of interest to quantoids who read this blog is the use of extension analysis to "project"the neuropsych measures into the factor space of well-known CHC factors (viz., factors defined by Thurstone's Primary Ability Tests). The figure posted in this note (double clicking on the figure will enlarge it for easier viewing) displays the factor loadings of the neuropsych measures (not the PAM/CHC measures used to define the factors) on the factors, which I have taken the liberty to label as per CHC terminology. Individuals using any of these neuropsych measures might find this information useful as traditionally neuropsych measures are typically not developed to measure pure latent constructs.

As would be expected, the authors concluded (and this is only one part of the purpose of the study) that most neuropsych measures are factorially complex...they measure more than one PAM/CHC ability. Of course, in their defense, the purpose of most neuropsych measures is not to measure pure latent constructs, but instead, is to help detect and describe brain-behavior relations.

Nature Neuroscience papers posted

The latest accepted Nature Neuroscience papers have been posted at the new Nature Neuroscience blog.

Quote to note - Science vs Poetry

Paul Dirac

"In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite."

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Off task - What does your birthday mean?

One of the top blogs today (as rated by Bloglines) is a site that allows you to enter your birtdate and get a description of your basic personality. Yes....this is horoscope material (aka....the Aunt Fanny effect.....if you write something general enough, it will even sound true for your Aunt Fanny).

Just for fun. According to this method, below is a description of you blogmaster :) Hmmmmm.

That is enough of a break...back to real science!
  • You have a Type A personality so big it makes other Type A's shrink away in shame.
  • You never shy away from adversity - and you love to tackle impossible problems.
  • Failure is not an option for you, and more than a few people are put off by your ego.
  • You tend to be controlling, and you hate leaving anything up to chance.
  • Your strength: Your bold approach to life
  • Your weakness: You don't accept help
  • Your power color: Bronze
  • Your power symbol: Pyramid
  • Your power month: October

Monday, November 07, 2005

Statistics are useful - baseball and fantasy football

Who said statistics aren't useful! Check out a post at the Science blog re: prediction models for Cy Young winners in baseball. Now.....if only someone could help me predict the performance of the football players on my fantasy football team. I tried to develop prediction models many years ago for fantasy football...I could only predict, at a reasonable level, performance of kickers.

Simple math problems and Ga/executive function-research brief

Brief highlights from s journal article related to simple arithmetic (Gq) problems.

DeRammelaere, S., Stuyven, E., & Vandierendonck, A. (2001). Verifying simple arithmetic sums and products: Are the phonological loop and the central executive involved? Memory & Cognition, 29(2), 267-273.
  • In two experiments, we investigated the role of the phonological loop and the central executive in the verification of the complete set of one-digit addition (Experiment 1) and multiplication (Experiment 2) problems. The focus of the present study was on the contradictory results concerning the contribution of the phonological loop in the verification of true problems (e.g., 8 + 4 a: 12 or 4 x 6 a: 24) reported until now. The results revealed that this slave system is not invoiced in verifying simple arithmetic problems, in contrast to the central executive. Furthermore, our results indicated that the split effect is due to the use of two different arithmetic strategies. 267
  • Our data suggest that the phonological loop is not involved in the verification of false arithmetic problems or in the verification of true problems (e.g., 8 + 4 = 12 or 7 x 3 = 21). The latter finding is not in agreement with models that assume that basic arithmetic facts are stored in a language-dependent verbal form, like Dehaene's triple-code model (Dehaene, 1992; Dehaene & Cohen. 1995). 271
  • The second conclusion concerns the contribution of central executive. Once more, it was found that a secondary task taxing executive processes interfered with the verification of simple arithmetic problems. 271
  • Other studies also have shown that executive processes might be crucial in arithmetic. 271

Journal awareness - Lang Speech & Hearing Services in Schools

FYI. The professional literature in speech/language is increasing paying attention to Ga (auditory processing)-related disorders. In this case it is the journal - Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools. If you are a school psychologist you might want to visit with your speech/language colleagues re: the ability to borrow this journal with regularity.

If you visit the link above, you can view abstracts for past issues (current issue # 4 not yet posted) even if you are not an ASHA member. On-line copies of the full articles require ASHA membership

Record 1 of 8
Authors TP Hogan, HW Catts, TD Little
Title The relationship between phonological awareness and reading: Implications for the assessment of phonological awareness
Full source Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, 2005, Vol 36, Iss 4, pp 285-293

Record 2 of 8
Authors D Sutherland, GT Gillon
Title Assessment of phonological representations in children with speech impairment
Full source Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, 2005, Vol 36, Iss 4, pp 294-307

Record 3 of 8
Authors GT Gillon
Title Facilitating phoneme awareness development in 3-and 4-year-old children with speech impairment
Full source Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, 2005, Vol 36, Iss 4, pp 308-324

Record 4 of 8
Authors A Nancollis, BA Lawrie, B Dodd
Title Phonological awareness intervention and the acquisition of literacy skills in children from deprived social backgrounds
Full source Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, 2005, Vol 36, Iss 4, pp 325-335

Record 5 of 8
Authors TJ Swanson, BW Hodson, M SchommerAikins
Title An examination of phonological awareness treatment outcomes for seventh-grade poor readers from a bilingual community
Full source Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, 2005, Vol 36, Iss 4, pp 336-345

Record 6 of 8
Authors BA Goldstein
Title From the editor
Full source Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, 2005, Vol 36, Iss 4, pp 279

Record 7 of 8
Authors GT Gillon
Title Prologue - Phonological awareness: Evidence to influence assessment and intervention practices
Full source Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, 2005, Vol 36, Iss 4, pp 281-284

Record 8 of 8
Authors GT Gillon
Title Clinical Forum - Epilogue - Phonological awareness: Effecting change through the integration of research findings
Full source Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, 2005, Vol 36, Iss 4, pp 346-349

"Gut" feelings and Glr/memories

Interesting little study tidbit regarding "gut" feelings and accuracy of memory (Glr) retrieval from over at Cognitive Dailey.

Off task - Brain poem by Emily Dickinson

A little mental break for blog readers. A poem re: the brain by Emily Dickinson. Thanks to Mind Hacks for this post

Off task - email time capsules

If you need a break, check out the ability to create your own email time capsule.

Gender differences in driving-frontal lobes & estrogen?

Are women better drivers due to the infuence of estrogen on the frontal lobes? Inquiring minds want to know. This article would make for good cocktail chatter.

Dean Woodcock Sensory-Motor Battery

FYI for those doing neuropsychological clinical/research work.

I've been surprised how many folks are not aware of the Dean-Woodcock Sensory-Motor Battery. I'm not a neuropsychologist by training, but have tried to keep up with the assessment related literature. It has been my understanding that a major limitation of the typical sensory-motor tests (administered by neuropsych types) is that they typically represent an ad hoc collection of various tests developed by different folks, normed on different groups (often very small "normals"), etc. The DWSM battery seems to address some of these major measurement issues as the tests were based on a common sample. I would urge you folks to take a peak.

[Conflict of Interest Disclosure - I am a Riverside test author, namely, the Woodcock-Johnson III, and thus may benefit indirectly from sales of this battery. I do NOT receive any renumeration from DWSM battery sales]

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Ga-PC/Glr-NA x Reading - significant aptitutde treatement interaction?

Don't the results of this study fall in the domain of a significant aptitude-treatment interaction(ATI)?

Allor, J. H., Fuchs, D., & Mathes, P. G. (2001). Do students with and without lexical retrieval weaknesses respond differently to instruction? Journal of Learning Disabilities, 34(3), 264-275.

Highlights from the article

[Note - adhoc translation to CHC terminology inserted by blogmaster]

  • Two phonological processing variables that appear important in predicted future reading performance are phonetic awareness (Ga) nd lexical retrieval (Glr). 264
  • Phonemic awareness (Ga-PC)refers to an understanding that words are made up of phonemes; lexical retrieval (Glr - NA?)is the retrieval of phonological codes from long-term memory. 264
  • Both descriptive and experimental research suggests that students with deficits in lexical retrieval and phonemic awareness are at considerable risk for experiencing difficulty in learning to read. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness a phonemic awareness and decoding program for first-grade students demonstrating low phonemic awareness. Whereas all students demonstrated low phonemic awareness, their performance varied on lexical retrieval tasks. The reading development of students with relatively high lexical retrieval skill was compared to that of students with relatively low lexical retrieval skill. These comparisons were made to explore the hypothesis that students with weaknesses in both phonemic awareness and lexical retrieval experience greater difficulty in developing phonemic awareness and reading skill than do students who are weak in phonemic awareness alone. 265
  • This study analyzed the effects of First-Grade PALS, a phonemic awareness decoding treatment. At the beginning of the study, all students demonstrated relatively low phonemic awareness. Approximately one half of these students also demonstrated relatively low lexical retrieval skill; about half demonstrated relatively high lexical retrieval skill. It was hypothesized that students with a higher level lexical retrieval would respond more favorably to treatment on measures of reading ability than students kith a lower level of lexical retrieval. 270
  • We offer two provisional conclusions. First, lexical retrieval seems to influence the development of beginning reading independently of the influence phonemic awareness. This conclusion is consistent with the double deficit hypothesis proposed by several researchers (Blachman, 1994; Bowers & Wolf, 1993; Torgesen et al., 1994)-to wit, students weak in both phonemic awareness and lexical retrieval are at greatest risk for reading difficulty. 273
  • Second, students stronger in lexical retrieval skill may respond more favorably to phonemic awareness and decoding training than those weaker in retrieval skills. 273
  • In sum, our ESs suggest that the treatment may have helped those with higher levels of lexical retrieval increase their reading ability to a greater degree than it helped those with lower levels of lexical retrieval. A more intensive treatment might have made a stronger impact on students with lower levels of lexical retrieval. 273
  • Second, because lexical retrieval appears to provide unique predictive information about the development of beginning reading subskills, precisely how it affects reading needs to studied. The existing evidence is equivocal. Lexical retrieval may differentially affect various reading subkills, or it may simply delay general reading development. Longitudinal information is needed. 274

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Neuroscience databases site

For those with an interest in the neruosciences. I recently stumbled across a site (Society for Neurosciences - Brain Information Group) that provides a comprehensive listing (with URL links) to a ton of major neuroscience databases.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Vocabulary (Gc-VL) development in children

An informative article summarized (abstract and select material from intro and discussion) below re: cognitive abilities related to vocabulary (Gc-VL) development in children.

McBrideChang, C., Wagner, R. K., Muse, A., Chow, B. W. Y., & Shu, H. (2005). The role of morphological awareness in children's vocabulary acquisition in English. Applied Psycholinguistics, 26(3), 415-435.

Abstract (NOTE - the blogmaster has excercised his CHC editorial prerogative and has inserted relevant CHC ability notation were appropriate
  • Tasks of speeded naming [Glr-NA), phonological awareness [Ga-PC], word identification (Grw-RD), nonsense word repetition (Grw-RD), and vocabulary (Gc-VL), along with two measures of morphological awareness (morphological structure awareness and morpheme identification), were administered to 115 kindergartners and 105 second graders. In the combined sample, 48% of the variance in vocabulary knowledge was predicted by the phonological processing and reading variables. Morphological structure awareness and morpheme identification together predicted an additional unique 10% of variance in vocabulary knowledge, for a total of 58% of the variance explained; both measures of morphological awareness were uniquely associated with vocabulary knowledge. Results underscore the potential importance of different facets of morphological awareness, as distinct from phonological processing skills, for understanding variability in early vocabulary acquisition.
Additional information from article
  • Our working definition of morphological awareness is awareness of and access to the meaning and structure of morphemes in relation to words. Morphemes are the smallest units of meaning in language. Carlisle (1995, p. 194) similarly defines morphological awareness as, “children’s conscious awareness of the morphemic structure of words and their ability to reflect on and manipulate that structure.” Our focus is on children’s abilities to distinguish and manipulate morphemes at the word level. This broad definition allows us, theoretically, to consider children’s knowledge of both derivations and inflections in language simultaneously. Derivational morphology includes knowledge of prefixes (e.g., the un in undisciplined or the pre in preoperational), suffixes (e.g., the ation in graduation or simulation), and compounding (e.g., cowboy and sunlight are both compound words). Inflectional morphology focuses primarily on indicating grammatical changes in words (e.g., the s in dogs or the ed in acted are both grammatical inflections).
  • Like phonological processing, morphological awareness is likely comprised of multiple dimensions.
  • We focused on two such dimensions that might ultimately be useful for understanding vocabulary growth because they can be assessed in very young children without using print.
  • Morpheme identification is the ability to distinguish different meanings across homophones. This skill is demonstrated when a child understands that the flower in flowerpot is represented by a plant with petals as opposed to a sack of white powder (flour).
  • A second aspect of morphological awareness, morphological structure awareness is the ability to create new meanings by making use of familiar morphemes. A child who understands that the famous concept of greater than one wug is represented by the word wugs, involving two morphemes, demonstrates morphological structure awareness skill.
  • Across both groups of children, the combined tasks of morphological awareness were good predictors of vocabulary knowledge, even once phonological processing, word reading skill, and age were statistically controlled. These results have two interesting implications for future research. First, morphological awareness is a cognitive construct separable from phonological processing and reading skills and important for vocabulary acquisition. Second, both morpheme identification and morphological structure awareness are potentially unique features of vocabulary development.

Developmental aspects of children's attention & executive functioning

Over on the Eide Neurolearning blog is a post (and link to the actual article) re: an fMFRI study of the development of attention/executive control in children. Thanks to the EN blog---one of my favorites.

International Society for Intelligence Research (ISIR 2005) program now available

The conference program (including abstracts) for the 2005 ISIR conference (Dec 1-3 in Albequrque, NM) is now available for viewing. Once at the URL page link provided above, click on the 2005 program.

New NCSPM Progress Monitor newsletter posted

The latest issue of the NCSPM Progress Monitor newsletter is now available.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Visual system (Gv) information bottleneck research review

I just skimmed an interesting review article in Trends in Cognitive Sciences on the information processing bottleneck of the visual system (Gv?).

The abstract is posted below, plus some clarifying information from the introduction. The figure in this post represents the author neat attempt to summarize the research literature re: the areas of the brain associated with the three primary sources of the bottleneck (I like the way they graphically show the areas of the brain via the overlay of research study citations). If you double click on the image, your browser should present you with a larger more readable version.

Marois, R. & Ivanoff, J. (2005). Capacity limits of information processing in the brain Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9(6), 296-305.

  • Despite the impressive complexity and processing power of the human brain, it is severely capacity limited. Behavioral research has highlighted three major bottlenecks of information processing that can cripple our ability to consciously perceive, hold in mind, and act upon the visual world, illustrated by the attentional blink (AB), visual short-term memory (VSTM), and psychological refractory period (PRP) phenomena, respectively. A review of the neurobiological literature suggests that the capacity limit of VSTM storage is primarily localized to the posterior parietal and occipital cortex, whereas the AB and PRP are associated with partly overlapping fronto-parietal networks. The convergence of these two networks in the lateral frontal cortex points to this brain region as a putative neural locus of a common processing bottleneck for perception and action.
Additional information from the introduction
  • A rich history of cognitive research has highlighted three major processing limitations during the flow of information from sensation to action, each exemplified by a specific experimental paradigm. The first limitation concerns the time it takes to consciously identify and consolidate a visual stimulus in visual short-term memory (VSTM), as revealed by the attentional blink paradigm.This process can take more than half a second before it is free to identify a second stimulus.
  • A second, severely limited capacity is the restricted number of stimuli that can be held in VSTM, as exemplified by the change detection paradigm.
  • A third bottleneck arises when one must choose an appropriate response to each stimulus. Selecting an appropriate response for one stimulus delays by several hundred milliseconds the ability to select a response for a second stimulus (the‘psychological refractory period’).

g (general intelligence)-mania research

Still more hot debate on the topic of g (general intelligence) - click here for prior recent post that will direct you to recent postings on this blog.

Werner Wittman has joined the recent g-mania listserv chatter by offering up a 1997 paper he authored with Heinz-Martin SuB.

A copy can be viewed/downloaded by clicking here. The title is "Challening g-mania in intelligence research: Answers not given due to questions not asked."

To g or not to g ?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

g (general intelligence) is a hot topic

It is interesting that during the past week (on the IAP CHC listerv) there has been an extended thread regarding the construct of g (general intelligence) and how it is operationalized in different intelligence batteries (click here for post re: this thread and a link to an important set of comments made by John Horn in 1999).

Today there has also been a focus on g on the NASP listserv, this thread dealing with the often reported finding that Gf maybe isomporphic with g.

Given the above, I realized that I've been remiss in reminding people of John "Jack" Carroll's final thoughts regarding the Gf-g relationship and Horn's anti-g position.

Jack's last formal publication (2003) was his chapter (The higher-stratum structure of cognitive abilities: Current evidence supports g and about ten broad factors) in Helmuth Nyborg (Ed.), The scientific study of general intelligence: Tribute to Arthur R. Jensen. Elsevier Science/Pergamon Press. In this chapter he analyzed various correlations matrices from the WJ-R.

Before his death and the publication of this chapter, Jack Carroll distributed a pre-publication copy of his chapter and allowed me to post it to the IAPCHC listserv archive folders. I'm now (click here) providing a link to a copy of the pre-pub draft for readers who do not have copies of Nyborg's text.

Of interest to the recent listserv threads are the following g-related comments by Jack Carroll (emphasis in italic added by this blogmaster). I do not pretend to speak for Dr. Carroll, but his last publishedchapter provides fairly specific statements regarding his g-thoughts at the time.
  • "The results show that there is indeed a factor Gf (Fluid Reasoning) that is significantly separate and different from factor g, tending to disconfirm any view that Gf is identical to g."(p. 11 of pdf pre-pub chapter).
  • Horn's comment suggests that he conveniently forgets a fundamental principle on which factor analysis is based (a principle of which he is undoubtedly aware)--that the nature of a single factor discovered to account for a table of intercorrelations does not necessarily relate to special characteristics of the variables involved in the correlation matrix; it relates only to characteristics or underlying measurements (latent variables) that are common to those variables. I cannot regard Horn's comment as a sound basis for denying the existence of afactor g, yet he succeeded in persuading himself and many others to do exactly this for an extended period of years." P.16-17 of pdf pre-pub chapter).