Monday, December 31, 2007

BPR3 - Blogging on Peer-Reviewed Research Reporting

Blogging on Peer-Reviewed ResearchI just stumbled across BPR3 (Bloggers for Peer-Reviewed Research Reporting). GREAT idea. As readers of my blog know, the majority of my posts deal with comments about published journal articles.

Count me in. I'm going to try to get into the habit of using the BPR3 icon in such posts...hopefully their system will do what it says it will.

Kudos to the BPR3 concept.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Beyond IQ: Update on forthcoming MACM model (Jan 2 instead?)

Blogging on Peer-Reviewed Research
[Double click on image to enlarge]

Last week I announced the forthcoming "Beyond IQ: A Model of Academic Competence and Motivation (MACM) project post. To give a "hint" at the content and scope of this post regarding the MACM proposal, I'd like to draw readers attention to an excellent recent article by Byrnes and Miller (2007) in the journal Contemporary Educational Psychology.

My forthcoming MACM model post is concerned with addressing contemporary calls for a more comprehensive school learning aptitude model/framework. The "opportunity-propensity" model of school achievement of Byrnes and Miller is an excellent example of a similar (and more ambitious) attempt to provide a large heuristic framework (represented in the visual model above) from which to understand school learning. According to Byrnes and Miller, their model is grounded, in part, on the following:

  • "As any comprehensive handbook of educational research illustrates (e.g., Alexander & Winne, 2006), the field of educational psychology is subdivided into distinct research areas such as motivation, instruction, reading achievement, math achievement, and so on. Scholars who specialize in one of these areas tend not to specialize in others. In addition, researchers within each of these areas often focus on specific components of some predictor of achievement (e.g., motivational goals) to the exclusion of other components of that same predictor (e.g., motivational attributions), and also rarely include constructs from other research areas in their studies (e.g., domain-specific skills and aptitudes). Because the problem of student achievement is so complex, it makes sense that various subgroups of researchers would try to make this problem initially more tractable by examining individual or small sets of factors in their studies of achievement. Indeed, much has been learned about these aspects of achievement in the process. However, the continued tendency to focus on a limited number of predictors within each study of achievement has led to two related problems. One is that scientists and policy makers do not have a sense of how all of the various pieces of the achievement puzzle fit together. A second problem is that the relative importance of various predictors is still largely unknown because researchers have not typically included adequate controls in their studies." (p. 599- 600).
I couldn't agree more. The Byrnes and Miller model is an attempt, in the spirit of the "educational productivity" modeling work of Wahlberg and colleagues, to articulate a complete model of school learning.

My forthcoming MACM proposal is less ambitious and deals primarily with the non-cognitive ability portions of these larger models. In the Byrnes and Miller model, and in accordance with the spirit of the late Richard Snow, they refer to these learner characteristics as "propensities". As they stated in their article:

  • Propensity factors, in contrast, are any factors that relate to the ability or willingness to learn content once it has been exposed or presented in particular contexts. Thus, cognitive factors such as intelligence, aptitude, cognitive level, and pre-existing skills would qualify, as would motivational factors such as interest, self-efficacy, values, and competence perceptions (Byrnes, 2003; Corno et al., 2002; Eccles, Wigfield, & Schiefele, 1998; Jones & Byrnes, 2006; Sternberg, Grigorenko, & Bundy, 2001). Self-regulation is a hybrid of cognitive (e.g., beliefs) and motivational (e.g., efficacy) orientations (Pintrich, 2000), so it would also qualify as a propensity factor. We further assume that when the opportunity and propensity conditions are fulfilled in an individual (i.e., they have been exposed to content in an effective manner and were willing and able to take advantage of this learning opportunity), higher achievement will follow directly. As a result, opportunity factors and propensity factors are considered to be proximal causes of achievement.
Stay tuned. I may "move up" the date of the launch of the Beyond IQ" A Model of Academic Competence and Motivation" to January 2nd.

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Is it possible to be too smart?

Blogging on Peer-Reviewed ResearchIs it possible that too much (high) fluid intelligence (Gf) can be detrimental to some forms of cognitive performance? Possibly, according to Shamosh and Gray's (2007) article "The relation between fluid intelligence and resource depletion" published in Cognition and Emotion. Although a small and select sample (the ubiquitous sample of undergraduate students), this study suggested the possibility that individuals with higher Gf may "deplete" their self-regulation resources more than individuals with lower Gf. Maybe this is why people who engage in strenuous cognitive performance over time often end up feeling drained...and in need of a break. At least this is going to give me a valid excuse when I feel I simply can't copy anymore after "thinking too hard."

  • Abstract: Self-regulation depends on a limited resource that can be depleted temporarily, but little is known about how this resource relates to individual differences in cognitive ability. We investigated whether self-regulatory depletion would vary with individual differences in fluid intelligence (gF), a stable index of cognitive ability with ties to executive function. Participants performed an emotion regulation task varying in self-regulatory demand, followed by the Multi-Source Interference Task to assess depletion. On a separate day, participants completed Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices to assess gF. Emotion suppression led to impairment on the interference task, indicating self-regulatory depletion. Critically, higher gF was associated with greater depletion. Controlling for variables reflecting susceptibility to task demands and trait motivation did not influence this effect. The results have implications for theories of the relation between self-regulatory and cognitive abilities, and the mechanisms supporting the control of behaviour.

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Howard Garnder slamed again--by Dr. "g" (Arthur Jensen)

There is little doubt that Howard Gardner, and his theory of multiple intelligences, has received considerable attention from the lay public and mass media. A trip to the psychology section of any Barnes and Nobles store always finds one staring at yet another book from this prolific scholar.

Unfortunately, IMHO, his work has received more attention than it deserves, while more serious empirically based research on the structure of intelligence (e.g., psychometrcally-based CHC theory) is ignored by the popular press and public. I understand many of the reasons for the differential treatment of these two different approaches, and will not delve into this controversy in this post. I've previously posted the essence of my thoughts re: Gardner's work--which I believe does have some heuristic merit if properly conceptualized (see my prior post for my ruminations)

I just skimmed Arthur "g" Jensen's review of the book (click here)--"Howard Gardner Under Fire: The Rebel Psychologist Faces His Critics)"

As one would expect, Jensen does not have many favorable comments regarding Gardner's work nor this supposed "critique" by others. Jensen feels that the reviewers who comment on Gardner's work were largely self-selected "like-minded" folks. The significant criticism that Jensen (and most other intelligence scholars from a more empirical/psychometric tradition) have for Gardner's work is captured in the following quote (from the review):
  • " Probably many educationists with little interest in acquiring a clear understanding of scientific psychology and psychometrics have uncritically embraced Gardner's psychology out of desperation. The persistent frustration of the educational system's dealing realistically with the wide range of scholastic aptitude in the nation's schools creates a fertile ground for seemingly attractive educational nostrums. Gardner's invention of the term “multiple intelligences” capitalizes on the high valuation the public accords to the word “intelligence.” The appeal of Gardner's terminology has been parodied as the Marie Antoinette theory of schooling: if the people have no bread, let them eat cake."
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Mental timing and dyslexia - another study

Blogging on Peer-Reviewed Research
Another post re: research on temporal processing and dyslexia over at the IQ Brain Clock blog.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

IQ Bytes # 3 - cognitive efficiency definition elaboration

I've previously referenced the concept of "cognitive efficiency" in the context of the CHC Theory of Intelligence (also check here). Briefly, this construct references the interaction of cognitive processing speed (Gs) and working memory (Gsm-MW).

Today I read what I think is a nice definition for "efficiency" in the context of human cognitive abilities. Charles Perfetti (2007), in an a recent article ("Reading Ability: Lexical Quality to Comprehension") published in the Scientific Studies of Reading (11-4; 357-383), stated:
  • "Efficiency is not the same as speed. Efficiency is a ratio of outcome to effort, with time as a proxy for effort."(p. 359)

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IQ Bytes # 2 - deductive reasoning (Gf-RG)

This is IQ Byte # 2 (click here for explanation of this feature). This byte of information comes from "Anatomy of deductive reasoning" (Goel, 2007, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 11(10)).
  • "Two major theories have dominated the cognitive literature on deductive reasoning. The major issue of contention between the two theories is whether deduction is underwritten by a system of (linguistic) rules sensitive to the logical form of the argument (mental logic theory...) or whether a visuospatial representation of the argument is constructed and evaluated (mental model theory)." (p. 435(

Two recommended books to enhance productivity and decision-making

In general I'm a positive skeptic re: most self-help books. But, as I look back on the various general-purpose non-fiction books I read this past year, I can honestly say that two self-help books have made a lasting impact on my productivity, performance, and decision-making.

If you are looking for something read, check out "Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity", and "Making Great Decisions in Business and Life.

Not every tidbit was found useful, but, in general, I took away enough good concepts and ideas that have proven useful.

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Beyond IQ - Coming soon - Jan 7, 2008

Coming Jan. 7th, 2008 - Beyond IQ: A Model of Academic Competence and Motivation.

Stay tunned !!!!!!

This is the culmination of work I've been doing the past 5 years regarding the importance of non-cognitive (conative) variables in school learning. A hint of the focus of this new web resource can be found by reviewing prior blog posts that have touched, in bits-and-pieces, on the topic of conative variables and aptitude. The prior post re: the "Forrest Gump" report is of particular relevance to understanding this new "coming attraction."

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Friday, December 21, 2007

IQ bytes #1: SES, working memory, ECTs

I offten find that although I may not be interested in the specific focus of a published study, a skim of the intro/review of the literature section is often informative. I frequently find nice summaries of concepts, research, definitions, ideas, etc....and I have always wanted to find a way to store them.

I'm now experimenting with a pen scanner (note - I had used one 2-3 years ago but, for some reason had moved away from using it). The new scanner is a much better one than my old model, although produced by the same company (InfoScan). Click here for the model I'm using.

On a recent trip I was skimming the latest issue of Intelligence and I found three interesting bytes of information in the intro section of three different articles. I scanned the information I wanted and it is produced, as is, below. The specific references are provided. Italic emphasis is by me...the blog dictator. Any URL links are also my doing. Enjoy these little bytes. I hope (but can't promise) to do this more often.

On Elementary Cognitive Tasks (ECTs)

Schweizer, K. (2007). Investigating the relationship of working memory tasks and fluid intelligence tests by means of the fixed-links model in considering the impurity problem. Intelligence, 35(6), 591-604.
  • One of the oldest ideas in intelligence research is the attempt to describe intelligence in terms of speed of information processing.
  • During the past three decades the so-called mental speed approach to human intelligence has provided evidence for a substantial relationship between psychometric intelligence and speed of information processing in elementary cognitive tasks (ECTs) which require minimal cognitive demands on the participant. The rationale of ACTS is that because these tasks are so easy they leave no room for intelligent strategic variations so that differences in performance can only be attributed to differences in the speed with which stimuli are processed and simple decisions are made.
  • Typical ECTs include cognitive processes such as encoding or inspection time (e.g., Kranzler & Jensen, 1989), searching for information in short-term memory (Sternberg, 1969), long-term memory retrieval (Posner, Boles, Eichelman, & Taylor, 1969), and simple and choice reaction time (RT) following the rationale of flick (e.g., bensen, 1987; Roth, 1964).

On varying correlations between measures of working memory and general intelligence

Rammsayer, T. H., & Stahl, J. (2007). Identification of sensorimotor components accounting for individual variability in Zahlen-Verbindungs-Test (ZVT) performance. Intelligence, 35(6), 623-630
  • The question of whether working memory contributes to intelligence has stimulated a large number of studies. As consequence, many correlational results suggesting the existence of a substantial relationship are available. Ackerman, Beier and Boyle (2005) report a metaanalytic investigation of 57 studies and suggest a correlation of .48. The Inspection of the individual results reveals that this field of research shows a high degree of heterogeneity. There are rather low besides very high correlations. The results obtained by means of structural equation modeling are most impressive. Some studies even suggest near identity of working memory and intelligence with respect to individual differences.
  • The heterogeneity of results demands for an explanation. Actually, there is a number of potential explanations. For example, the difference between correlations observed at the manifest level on hand and at the latent level on the other hand provides explanation. Different degrees of similarity between measures for the assessment of working memory on one hand and of intelligence on the other hand give rise to another explanation (Schweizcr, 2005). Samples originating from different populations, which in varying degrees allow age to act as moderator can also be accepted as explanation since age was found to be an influential source (Salthouse, 2005). Furthermore, there is the impurity of measures [Blog dictator comment - often called construct irrelevant variance] as explanation. There may different degrees of impurity. If impurity is given, one part of the observed relationship is due to the intended source of performance whereas the other part is due to another source. Impurity calls the interpretation of the result into question.

On SES (individual and community level variables) and intelligence

Johnson, W., Mcgue, M., & Iacono, W. G. (2007). Socioeconomic status and school grades: Placing their association in broader context in a sample of biological and adoptive families. Intelligence, 35(6), 526-541.
  • Over 20 years ago, White (1982) published a meta-analysis documenting the fact that, measured at the level the individual, the correlation between socioeconomic tabus (SES) and academic achievement is rather modest, averaging about .22. At the same time, when measured at the level of some aggregated unit of analysis such as the schoo1 or the neighborhood, the correlation is much higher, ranging as high as .80. Though SES is a variable that applies to the individual or family, its much higher aggregate than single-family correlation with academic achievement implies that people of similar SES tend to cluster together. To the extent this is true, children receive similar SES influences from both their families and their surrounding communities. If the community influences are strong, SES has the potential to be a powerful environmental variable exerting broad-based effects at a population level, despite its relatively modest effects at the level of the individual. It is probably for treason that SES continues to be so interesting to researchers investigating educational outcomes.
  • [Blog dictator comment - see prior post where I highlighted a more current SES meta-analytic summary that updates the classic White (1982) review. As mentioned in that note, community SES is a very important variable when it comes to designing sample specifications for the standardization of cognitive tests --- but it is often overlooked.
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IQ's Corner random tidbits from mind blogosphere

  • Thanks to the Brain Injury blog for the tip re: a new Spanish language web site on neurological disorders
  • Check out the GNIF Brain Blogger for report that silent small strokes can accelerate the progresson of Alzheimer's
  • Check out the Happy Neuron for some new brain fitness games (free trials available)
  • The brain blog carnival Encephalon (#38) is now available. Thanks to the ever current Mind Hacks.
  • Learning from mistakes...or not? Check out the "dopamine effect" (and basal ganglia) post at the Mouse Trap.
  • PsycPort has posted a news report of a new study that confirms a long held belief.....foster care is better for cognitive development that being raised in an institution.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Fine tuning the brain clock results in better school performance? Media report

If you are interested in the concept of an internal brain clock and possible neuro-based interventions to fine-tune the clocks resolution, with the objective to improve academic functioning of school-age children, check out the today's post at the IQ Brain Clock.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Reading confusion and compensatory cognitive strategies

I just read a great article that presents an excellent framework for conceptualizing certain types of confusion that occurs during reading (Grw) and, more importantly, a conceptual framework for categorizing and describing "meta-compensation strategies"....which, IMHO, strike at the heart of self-regulated learning strategies (associated with executive functioning). Check out the article by Walczyk (2007) in the Journal of Educational Psychology.

Blogging on Peer-Reviewed Research

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Email and the decline of civilization?

Way off task for this blog...but I enjoyed this column (In the Chronical Review of Higher Education) in defense of email. The author captures much of how I feel....although I hope my emails are not as bad as the author has deliberately written this piece.


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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

IQ's Corner Random Tidbits from Mind Blogosphere 12-13-07

  • Check out the ENL blog for an interesting post on "Walking and chewing gum at the same time: Multi-tasking and complex thinking"
  • Thanks to Mind Hacks for the tip re: a great USB brain t-shirt...just in time for XMAS shopping.
  • The Mouse Trap weighs in (by recommending two articles on my Malcom "Blink" Gladwell and the other by James "Flynn Effect" Flynn) on the importance of IQ and matters of race....a very controversial area to tread with many different opinions. These two articles are only the tip of a number of icebergs.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

IQ's Corner recent literature of interest 12-1-07

This weeks recent literature of interest can be found by clicking here.

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Processing speed (Gs) developmental growth on two WJ tests

I just skimmed an interesting (an largely theoretical) article by Kail and Ferrer (2007; Child Development-click here to view) that fit different mathematical models of age-related (developmental) growth to the WJ-R (Woodcock-Johnson--Revised) Visual Matching and Cross Out tests. The article does not have immediate practical applications. I'm was interested in the article since it deals with two tests from the WJ III (conflict of interest note - I'm a coauthor of the WJ III). I also read the article because of the first author...Kail. He, IMHO, is one of the top researchers investigating the nature of developmental growth of cognitive processing speed (Gs).

The abstract for the article is below.

The authors concluded that quadratic and exponential models fit the growth patterns of the Visual Matching and Cross Out tests the bests. The quadratic model was the best fitting model. The authors use this finding to illustrate how such analysis might be useful in exploring the mechanisms that underlie growth in cognitive speed (Gs).

For example, the authors note that the "parameters of these quadratics are often qualitatively like those obtained here: nonlinear change is achieved from a linear increase coupled with a nonlinear (power function) decrease." They then point other physiological/cerebral functions that show similar quadratic growth patterns - e.g., total cerebral volume and total body fat all show the same pattern of quadratic change in childhood and adolescence. The authors suggest that such a finding may suggest that all might have a "common (unspecified) biological base."

Interesting stuff...but not all that practical for the field of applied intelligence testing. However, I think the finding that the two tests showed the same pattern of developmental growth might be interpreted to support the interpretation of the two Gs tests as measuring the same underlying cognitive construct.

As I've written elsewhere, John Horn frequently talked about different types of validity evidence of human ability constructs--structural (factor analytic), genetic or heritability, neurocognitive, criterion-outcome, and developmental. We know from EFA/CFA (structural) studies of the WJ-R and WJ III that Visual Matching and Cross Out load on a common broad Gs factor. Logical content analysis has suggested that they are both measures of the narrow Gs ability of P (perceptual speed). The finding that both VM and CO display the same longitudinal developmental growth pattern, when combined with the extant EFA/CFA structural research that finds these two tests always loading on a common factor, in my opinion supports the validity of the logical narrow (stratum I) classifications of both tests as measures of Gs-P.

Just my two cent applied/practical extraction of information from this largely theoretical piece of research.

  • The primary aim of the present study was to examine longitudinal models to determine the function that best describes developmental change in processing speed during childhood and adolescence. In one sample, children and adolescents (N 5503) were tested twice over an average interval of 2 years on two psychometric measures of processing speed: Visual Matching and Cross Out. In another sample, children and adolescents (N 5 277) were tested four times, every 6 months, on Cross Out. Age-related changes in performance on both tasks were examined using six longitudinal models representing different hypotheses of growth. Linear, hyperbolic, inverse regression, and transition models yielded relatively poor fit to the data; the fit of the exponential and quadratic models was substantially better. The heuristic value of these latter models is discussed.
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Monday, December 03, 2007

James "Flynn Effect" Flynn in the news again

James Flynn has been making the rounds recently, probably due to his new book "What is intelligence: Beyond the Flynn Effect.". Check out the following

  • 10 Questions for James Flynn at Gene Expression
  • "Shattering intelligence: Implications for education and interventions" essay at CATO Unbound [Thanks to J. McMaster for this tip]
Click here to view all recent Flynn Effect postings at IQ's Corner

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Friday, November 30, 2007

Random tidbits from the mind blogosphere 11-30-07

  • Check out the ever great Developing Intelligence blog for a interesting posts re: some somewhat surprising research results concerning working memory and using Google PageRank as a semantic memory model of the human brain.
  • Need a break? Check out the video of dart throwing elephants courtesy of Omni Brain.
  • PsycPort reports on a new study suggesting that children with autism may increased gray matter in the brain in areas that govern social processing and learning by observation.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

WJ III measures of RAN?, speed of lexical access, executive functions?

When time permits, I've been carefully skimming the approx. 30 CHC/WJ III dissertations that I recently acquired and noted at this blog. When I've discovered something of potential importance, I've made DD (Dissertation Dish) posts (all DD-related posts can be found by clicking on the "dissertation" keyword in this blogs index--scroll down left-side of blog).

I just finished skimming a dissertation by one of Dawn Flanagan's students (Kyvelos, 2003). Kyvelos reanalyzed (via CFA) the speeded tests from the WJ III/CAS validity sample (155 elementary school-age subjecxts) which was the foundation of Keith et al.'s CHC-based WJ III/CAS SPR article (2001). At variance from the SPR publication was the inclusion of the WJ III Retrieval Fluency and Rapid Picture Naming Speed tests in the analysis. These tests were NOT included in the Keith et al. 2001 formal publication.

[Conflict of interest note - I'm a coauthor of the WJ III battery]

Although no support was found for the classification of the WJ III and/or CAS speeded tests at the narrow (stratum I) ability level, the analysis did support the validity of separate broad Gs and Glr factors, factors with a latent factor correlation of .74. What I find particularly interesting was the validity for a rate-based Glr factor, which was defined by the following significant loadings:
  • WJ III Retrieval Fluency = .69
  • WJ III Rapid Picture Naming = .56
  • CAS Expressive Attention = .30
In contrast, all other WJ III (Decision Speed, Cross Out, Visual Matching) and CAS speeded tests (Receptive Attention, Planned Connections, Planned Codes, Number Detection, Matching Numbers) all loaded on the broad Gs factor.

Why is this interesting?

First, the most robust post-WJ III publication structural finding I've discovered (in various unpublished analyses I've conducted with the WJ III data files) is the finding that the WJ III Rapid Picture Naming (measures the ability to rapidly identify and orally name pictures of common objects) and Retrieval Fluency (measures fluency in retrieving the names of objects.. the subject is asked to state as many items as they can of three different types) tests "hang together." These two tests seem to be tapping a rate retrieval (Glr) ability distinct from traditional Gs tests. As reported in the broad+narrow CFA in WJ III technical manual, we did specify these two tests to represent the narrow ability of "Naming Facility" under Glr.
  • NA- Ability to rapidly produce accepted names for concepts or things when presented with the thing itself or a picture of it (or cued in some other appropriate way). The naming responses must be in an individuals long-term memory store (i.e., objects or things to be named have names that are very familiar to the individual). In contemporary reading research is ability is called rapid automatic naming (RAN)
That is...evidence was presented in the WJ III TM that these two tests measure the rate aspect (versus the "level" aspect) of Glr. I've repeatedly found these tests grouping together in various exploratory factor analyses, multidimensional scaling analysis, cluster analysis, etc. The Kyvelos (2003) study supports this finding. I've speculated that the common ability is "speed of lexical access"....which I first ran across in Perfetti's reading research.

Second, the other test that loaded on this rate Glr factor was the CAS Expressive Attention test. This task is based on the classic Stroop task (1935) that is typically interpreted as a valid measure of interference, inhibition/disinhibition, and executive control. In this task a subject must name as fast as possible (when presented with printed words in different colored fonts) the color in which the words red, blue, yellow, and green, are printed instead of reading the words themselves. Clearly such a task requires response inhibition and rapid/fluent accessing of a person's lexicon (speed of lexical access).

Bottom line - I believe, based both on published and unpublished research, that the combination of the WJ III Retrieval Fluency and Rapid Picture Naming tests measure some sort of Glr fluency/rate ability, especially as it relates to speed of semantic processing or speed of accessing one's lexicon. The association of these two WJ III tests with a CAS Stroop-like task (Expressive Attention) also suggests that response inhibition is a potentially important component for successful performance on these two WJ III tests. In other words, these two WJ III tests may measure, aside from speed of lexical access or word retrieval fluency (possibly some shared abilities with RAN tasks?), aspects of executive functioning - namely, ability to deal with interference effects and response inhibition.

RE: possible WJ III measures of executive functioning, check out recent posts re: the WJ III Pair Cancellation test.

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IQ's Corner Mind Blogosphere Headlines 11-29-07

All the news thats fit for IQ's Corner readers:

This is the 43rd installment of IQs Corner Headlines from the Brain and Mind Blogsphere. If you like this little e-newsletter you can sign up to receive it daily (delivered to your email inbox by visiting the sign-up boxes at the bottom of this blog page).

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Beyond the CHC theory tipping point: Back to the future

I just posted a copy of the PPT slides that served as the first half of two presentations I recently made in Canada re: the CHC (Cattell-Horn-Carroll) theory of intelligence. The latest version is called "Beyond the CHC theory tipping point: Back to the future."

The slide show can be viewed by scrolling down the left-side of this blog page until you reach the "On-line PPT slide" section header. Click on the presentation title and enjoy.

Below is a brief description of the slide show:
  • An overview of the CHC (Cattell-Horn-Carroll) theory of intelligence within a historical and "waves of interpretation" context. Presents idea that CHC has reached the "tipping point" in school psychology..and...this is allowing assessment practitioners to realize past attempts to engage in individual strength and weakness interpretation of CHC based test profiles
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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

WJ III Pair Cancellation - Part 2

More on the WJ III Pair Cancellation test (click here for prior post). I just finished skimming Carper's (2003) dissertation (comparing relations between select NEPSY and WJ III tests). I thought Carper's task analysis description of abilities measured by the WJ III Pair Cancellation test was informative. Carper included the following under Pair Cancellation: Visual scanning, Response inhibition, Interference control, Sequencing, Speed and Fluency, Sustained Attention, Processing Speed, and Motoric Speed

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WJ III Pair Cancellation test as measure of vigilance (sustained attention)

As a result of my recent "harvesting" of various unpublished CHC/WJ III-related thesis/dissertations, my interest in the WJ III Pair Cancellation (PC) test has been rekindled. Since the WJ III was first published I've maintained that the Pair Cancellation test was a good measure of sustained attention or vigilance, an aspect of executive functioning. Unfortunately, we (the WJ III authors) did not report much in the way of special validity studies to support of this interpretation.

[Conflict of interest note - I am a coauthor of the WJ III]

The purpose of this post is to share my recent thinking re: the WJ III PC test. My bottom line conclusion - I still believe that the WJ III Pair Cancellation test is an under appreciated test in the WJ III battery. Because Pair Cancellation's administration is not required to obtain any of the primary cognitive clusters (General Intellectual Ability; CHC factor clusters) it is a test that is often ignored (not administered). I think practitioners need to pay closer attention to the potential of this test, particularly when issues of vigilance, ADHD and executive functions are prominent in a referral for assessment. On what basis do I make this recommendation?

First, lets start with a description of the task. In the WJ III Pair Cancellation task a subject is presented with rows that contain repeating pictures of a dog and a ball (in no particular sequence) and must circle all instances of when the “ball is followed by the dog”. The test has a three-minute time limit. Thus, a subject must locate and mark a repeated pattern of pictures while simultaneously controlling for interference of potentially distracting information (i.e., demonstate good inhibition).

Second, lets consider the CHC basics for Pair Cancellation. As per my most recent CHC classification of all WJ III tests, Pair Cancellation (based on the published CFA analysis in the WJ III Technical Manual) is clearly a speeded test (Gs). Original logical narrow ability content analysis suggested a classification as a measure of P (perceputal speed) and/or AC (sustained attention/concentration). Using Ackerman and colleagues recent fine-grained analysis of perceptual speed measures (which suggests that perceptual speed may be an intermediate stratum ability between narrow and broad abilities defined by four narrow sub-abilities), the Pair Cancellation test might better be consider a measure of "complex perceptual speed" (Pc), which is the "ability to perform visual pattern recognition tasks that impose additional cognitive demands such as spatial visualization, estimating and interpolating, and heightened memory span loads."

Third, in a study of 39 subjects (21 with ADHD; 18 controls) Poock (2005) reported that the Pair Cancellation test, along with the Concept Formation and Auditory Working Memory tests, reliably differentiated ADHD and non-ADHD subjects.

Fourth, there is a rich base of neuropsychological literature that has demonstrated that various "cancellation tasks" are good measures of sustained attention or vigilance. Borrowing from Brawn's (2007) review of the literature:

  • Cancellation Tasks (CTs) are the immediate antecedents to CPT's [continuous performance tests]. Indeed, some researchers refer to CTs as "paper-and-pencil" CPTs (e.g., Barkley, 1998). They assess "...visual selectivity at a fast speed on a repetitive motor response task" (Lezak, 1995, p. 548), by requiring that a subject rapidly scan printed rows of digits, letters, symbols, or pictures in order to mark pre-specified targets interspersed throughout the symbols, or pictures in order to mark pre-specified targets interspersed throught the array.
  • Cancellation Tasks have been demonstrated to be sensitive to response slowing and inattentiveness as a fundtion of diffuse cerebral damage or acute brain conditions, and, like CPTs, they are classified as basic vigilance tests (Lezak, 1995). However, of the two, CPTs may be the purer measure of vigilance. Cancellation tasks require the subject to use a pencil, as well as to quickly and accurately scan rows of printed stimuli; thus, performance relies substantially on motor processing, visual-motor integration, and subject driven visual scanning (Lezak, 1995; Wechsler, 1997b; Woodcock et al., 2001).

Interested readers may wish to check out the recent "meta-search" I completed (and posted) re: the cancellation task assessment paradigm.

Finally, in a previously reported "Carroll analysis" of the complete WJ III battery, Pair Cancellation was found to the strongest loading test on the broad "cognitive" processing speed (Gsc) factor [this analysis also produced a broad "achievement" processing speed factor-Gsa]. In my opinion, this is consistent with the Ackerman-based classification of Pair Cancellation as a measure of complex perceptual speed (Pc).

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Vigilance tasks/tests meta-search

I've added my 3rd IQ's Corner web meta-search link to the appropriate section of this blog (scroll down left side of blog to the "Meta-web searches" section). The topic is cancellation tasks/tests....a test format used primarily in neuropsychology settings to assess vigilance (a component of executive function).

This is another DD (dissertation dish - technically this one is a thesis dish for a specialist degree)

This thesis was completed by Carrie Adkins (2006 - click here to find complete reference citation). The title of this thesis was "The The Correlation between Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale III and Woodcock-Johnson III Cognitive Abilities and WJ III Achievement for College Students: Which is a better predictor of reading achievement?"

  • The present study is intended to examine whether the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale III or Woodcock-Johnson III Cognitive Abilities would better predict reading achievement on the WJ III Achievement in the college student population. Participants included 29 college students attending a university in the Midwest, being evaluated for a learning disability or academic accommodations. Data were analyzed using Pearson r correlation, Fisher z, and t-test for each intelligence test in comparison to achievement subtests. Results from this study indicated that both IQ scores obtained from the WAISIII and the WJ-III COG correlated with reading significantly, but not highly enough to be construed as achievement tests due to only moderate correlations. Considering the results of this study an examiner may choose either instrument to use when assessing intelligence. Limitations to this study are presented.
Brief blogmaster comments:
  • The thesis author appropriately points out the significant limitation in terms of small sample size and the need for replication in larger samples.
  • The WAIS-III FS IQ correlated .56, .66, and .24 with the WJ III Ach. tests of Letter-Word Identification, Passage Comprehension, and Reading Fluency. The WJ III GIA correlations with the same reading measures were .62, .65, and .34. Statistical tests revealed no significant differences between the respective WAIS-III and WJ III cognitive-reading correlations.
  • A limitation that should be noted is the significant restriction of range of talent/ability. The WAIS III FS IQ had an SD of 14.7 (almost normal), while the WJ III GIA SD was 10.1. The SD's for the respective WJ III achievement tests ranged from 9.8 to 11.7. Clearly there was significant restriction of range on the WJ III measures (due to the referral nature of the sample), a finding that suggests that the WJ III cognitive/achievement correlations are under-estimates of the population correlations. It would have been nice if the author would have presented "corrected" correlations (for range restriciton). Most likely the WJ III GIA correlations with achievement would have been higher.
  • Finally, I would like to have seen the correlations between the respective WAIS-III composite and WJ III CHC composite/cluster scores and reading achievement. Unfortunately, these are not reported.
Conflict of interest note - I'm a coauthor of the WJ III

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XMAS shopping - Serotonin t-shirts

Thanks to Mind Hacks for the tip re: the YAY Serotonin t-shirts that are now available for purchase. Just in time for my holiday shopping

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Random tidbits from the mind blogosphere 11-25-07

  • Check out the GNIF Brain Blogger blog for interesting post re: how "false" memories may feel true.
  • Thanks to Positive Technology Journal for link to just released report by British Medical Association re: the ethical implications of using technology to enhance cognitive functioning

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

More on brain training for the eldery

Sharp Brains has a more detailed post regarding the topic I blogged about research demonstrating positive effects for brain training in the elderly. Check out SB's post....I consider SB to be the "Ralph Nader" or "Consumer Reports" regarding the growing brain fitness industry.

Random tidbits from mind blogospher e11-21-07

  • Interesting post at BPS re: research on deliberate attempts to feign mental retardation (e.g., in capital punishment cases).
  • Check out "interesting brain web sites" post at the Brain Injury blog - IMHO, the #1 blog related to brain injury news and views.
  • Need a break? Do you tire of doing Excel spreadsheets. Check out new "game" played with Excel. Thanks to the Download Squad for the tip.
  • Infant statisticians? Check out the Mouse Trap for post re: study suggesting that infants may possess some rudimentary understanding of probability.
  • I'm not sure how accurate this new blog feature is, but it is interesting. Check out Omni Brain's post for a link on calculating the readability level of blogs. IQ's Corner came out at the "college level." I'm not surprised given that the focus is largely for scholarly/academic/theoretical information dissemination.

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