Friday, March 30, 2007

Monday, March 26, 2007

NY Times covers multitasking research

Multitasking research covered by NY Times.

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On the road again

I'm on the road attending the NASP convention in NY starting tomorrow (3-26-07) and will return late Sunday (4-1-07). Blog posts will be minimal to possibly zero.

I shall return.

IQ Brain Clock EWOK (Evolving Web of Knowledge)

Sorry for the dearth of posts. I've been busy getting ready to attend NASP in NY (tomorrow thru Sunday) and working feverishly to develop and upload the first IQ Brain Clock EWOK (Evolving Web of Knowledge). Check it should give readers who are interested in temporal processing and mental time-keeping busy while I'm away at NASP :)

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Random tidbits from the mind blogsphere 3-25-07

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

National intelligence (IQ) and outcomes - more info

As promised, here is more information regarding national IQ and various outcome measures. I found some of the articles and have posted links to them. In addition, I found I had omitted an important 2007 article by Lynn and is now included in the list below.

Be aware....the research in this area is not without controversy. Check out the post regarding Lynn's book (IQ and the Wealth of Nations) on this topic at Wikipedia.
  • Barber, N. (2005). Educational and ecological correlates of IQ: A cross-national investigation. Intelligence, 33(3), 273-284. (click here)
  • Lynn, R. & Mikk, J. (2007). National differences in intelligence and educational attainment. Intelligence, 35, 115-121 (click here)
  • Lynn, R., & Vanhanen, T. (2001). National IQ and economic development: A study of eighty-one nations. Mankind Quarterly, 41(4), 415-435.
  • Voracek, M. (2004). National intelligence and suicide rate: an ecological study of 85 countries. Personality and Individual Differences, 37(3), 543-553. (click here)
  • Voracek, M. (2005). National intelligence, suicide rate in the elderly, and a threshold intelligence for suicidality: An ecological study of 48 Eurasian countries. Journal of Biosocial Science, 37(6), 721-740.
  • Whetzel, D. L., & McDaniel, M. A. (2006). Prediction of national wealth. Intelligence, 34(5), 449-458. (click here)

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National intelligence (IQ) and outcomes

Tonight the CBC "Test the Nation" show aired. I just checked my hit counter and see a significant increase in hits from Canada. Welcome to my neighbors to the north.

In case folks are interested in recent scholarly research on studies of national IQ and different outcome variables, I've done a quick literature search of my professional reference database. Below are the articles I found. Warning -- I've not read any of these articles in depth nor do I have much interest in this specific topic in the field of intelligence (see my vita and web page for my interests). This is primarily an FYI post for those who may want to read some of this literature. Readers will need to evaluate the journal articles on their own.

If I can do it....I might provide links to copies of some of the pdf articles yet this evening (if I have them on my hard drive) Stay tunned.

  • Barber, N. (2005). Educational and ecological correlates of IQ: A cross-national investigation. Intelligence, 33(3), 273-284.
  • Lynn, R., & Vanhanen, T. (2001). National IQ and economic development: A study of eighty-one nations. Mankind Quarterly, 41(4), 415-435.
  • Voracek, M. (2004). National intelligence and suicide rate: an ecological study of 85 countries. Personality and Individual Differences, 37(3), 543-553.
  • Voracek, M. (2005). National intelligence, suicide rate in the elderly, and a threshold intelligence for suicidality: An ecological study of 48 Eurasian countries. Journal of Biosocial Science, 37(6), 721-740.
  • Whetzel, D. L., & McDaniel, M. A. (2006). Prediction of national wealth. Intelligence, 34(5), 449-458.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Cognitive construct of attention - a review

The most recent Annual Review of Psychology had a nice overview article (by Posner and here to view) dealing with research on the cognitive construct of attention. I found Figure 2 and Table 1 (above) particularly informative. Below are some key quotes from the article. Given my prior reading and posts regarding the importance of executive attention, I was particularly interested in Posner and Rothbart's suggestion that executive attention may be a domain general learning mechanism that may be trainable. The italics and/or underlining below were added by this blogmaster.
  • In recent years, attention has been one of the fastest growing of all fields within cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience.
  • Certainly many, perhaps even most, imaging studies have been concerned with anatomical issues. As Figure 2 illustrates, several functions of attention have been shown to involve specific anatomical areas that carry out important functions.
  • Imaging data have supported the presence of three networks related to different aspects of attention (Fan et al. 2005). These networks carry out the functions of alerting, orienting, and executive attention (Posner & Fan 2007). A summary of the anatomy and chemical modulators involved in the three networks is shown in Table 1. Alerting is defined as achieving and maintaining a state of high sensitivity to incoming stimuli; orienting is the selection of information from sensory input; and executive attention involves mechanisms for monitoring and resolving conflict among thoughts, feelings, and responses.
  • ..we have argued that the executive attention network is involved in self-regulation of positive and negative affect as well as a wide variety of cognitive tasks underlying intelligence (Duncan et al. 2000). This idea suggests an important role for attention in moderating the activity of sensory, cognitive, and emotional systems.
  • There is considerable evidence that the executive attention network is of great importance in the acquisition of school subjects such as literacy (McCandliss et al. 2003) and in a wide variety of other subjects that draw upon general intelligence (Duncan et al.2000).
  • It has been widely believed by psychologists that training involves only specific domains, and that more general training of the mind, for example, by formal disciplines like mathematics or Latin, does not generalize beyond the specific domain trained (Thorndike 1903, Simon 1969). However, attention may be an exception to this idea. Attention involves specific brain mechanisms, as we have seen, but its function is to influence the operation of other brain networks (Posner & Rothbart 2007). Anatomically, the network involving resolution of conflict overlaps with brain areas related to general intelligence (Duncan et al. 2000). Training of attention either explicitly or implicitly is sometimes a part of the school curriculum (Posner&Rothbart 2007), but additional studies are needed to determine exactly how and when attention training can best be accomplished and its long-lasting importance.
  • Executive attention represents a neurodevelopmental process in children and adolescents, the alteration which could affect the propensity for the development of a number of disorders.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

LD, Testing and RTI

Jeff Evans, at AGS/Pearson, has posted "Learning Disabilities (LD), Testing and RTI" at the Clinical Cafe, a part of the AGS/Pearson Speech and Language Forum. The summary is based on the work of Dawn Flanagan and colleagues.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Music training and sensitivity to speech sounds (Ga)

A forthcoming brief article in the April issue of Nature Neuroscience continues to support the connection between learning music and sensitivity to speech sounds (Ga), a skill important for early reading. Check out the press release as well as a copy of the article.

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Beyond NCLB

The high standards set by the No Child Left Behind legislation is in the news again...this time a article posted at MSNBC.

For more detailed information regarding the "pulse" of NCLB, as reflected by the report (Beyond NCLB) of the non-partisan Commission on No Child Left Behind, check out the official report of the commission. The National Center on Learning Disabilities (NCLD) also has a nice summary posted.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Williams Syndrome language review

Quick FYI. I ran across an interesting literature review on children with Williams Syndrome and language abilities (click here to view article). Individuals with WS display a unique configuration of cognitive strengths (e.g., musical ability; language; Ga, Gc) and weaknesses (visual-spatial; quantitative; fluid reasoning; Gv, Gq, Gf).

Upon finding this article I decided to run a keyword search for all articles flagged with WS in the IAP Reference Database. I found many. To not let this search go to waste, I've posted it here for those who want to read more. Enjoy.

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Recent literature of interest 3-13-07

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

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Friday, March 09, 2007

Rapid auditory speech "gap" detection and dyslexia and aphasia

Although not dealing with severe reading disabilities (dyslexia), an article (in Neuropsychologia) I just skimmed that dealt with rapid auditory speech "gap detection" in adult aphasics seems to be consistent with the "auditory temporal processing" research and theory of dyslexia. On March 1 I made a post re: an article that provided, IMHO, a very nice overview of the phonological processing and auditory temporal processing (ATP) research on dyslexia. This new article seems to be consistent with the ATP research.

For the loyal CHC theory readers of this blog, this research suggests that we are still learning of additional narrow Ga (auditory processing) abilities that may deserve a place in the CHC taxonomy.

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Test (IQ) the Nation - Canadian version March 18

Test the Nation, a national live IQ test that has previously aired in the U.S. on Fox and in the UK on BBC, will air Sunday, March 18 on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Although the broadcast will only be available to Canadians, the IQ test (which has been normalized for an English-Canadian audience) will be available internationally (click here) on March 18 at 3 PM.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

NCME March 2007 newsletter available

AAMR morphs to AAIDD

FYI.....note taken from NASP listserv.


Effective January 1, 2007 AAMR has officially become the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD).

The name change was approved by our members this last year, and we are currently working to develop a new look for the organization that matches the new name. With this change we join other similar organizations who have made the decision to move away from the term "mental retardation" (MR.) in the organization name, and to replace it with the term "Intellectual Disability" (ID).

Other associations that have made this change include the former President's Committee on Mental Retardation, now the Presidents Committee on Intellectual Disability, and the International Association for the scientific Study of Intellectual Disability (IASSID).

In the coming weeks, you will see changes to our logo, our website, even our staff e-mail addresses. In the mean time, know that one thing has not changed: our mission. Our mission statement remains intact. In fact, our mission statement has used the term intellectual disability
for several years now.

So welcome to AAIDD!

Hank Bersani Jr., President AAIDD

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Body parts and IQ

The following is a guest blog post by Joel Schneider (Clinical psychologist, Illinois State University), a member of IQs Corner Virtual Community of Scholars project.

What do your fingers, palms, ears, ankles, and elbows have to do with your intelligence?

Every once in a while researchers report something about intelligence that is startling and weird: symmetrical people tend to score higher on IQ tests than people whose fingers, palms, ears, ankles, and elbows are differently sized. Of all the things associated with intelligence, being symmetrical does not usually leap to mind. Now, if an unexpected finding comes from only one study with a small sample, it is probably a fluke. However, if three different research teams with 5 different samples all report the same thing, the finding deserves serious attention. This is now the case with the correlation of intelligence with symmetry (Bates, 2007).

It is no small feat of engineering that our genes are able to get our body parts that come in pairs (arms, legs, ears, eyes, etc.) to be roughly the same size and stay that way throughout our development. It is true that developmental processes fail to get it exactly right in everyone all the time, but it is amazing that it works at all. When one side of the body is substantially larger than the other, it is not usually due to abnormal genes but is instead the result of an environmentally caused disturbance of development such as exposure to a parasite, a toxin, a stroke, or any number of stressors that strike at random. For each individual, we can measure the size differences between body part pairs and calculate an overall measure of asymmetry. This overall measure, called fluctuating asymmetry, is hypothesized to be a rough index of how much biological stress an individual has endured during development, particularly during pregnancy and infancy. The logic behind the connection between intelligence and fluctuating asymmetry goes something like this: the kinds of stressors that result in asymmetry might also have an effect on the brain. Therefore, when we see a very asymmetrical person, it is likely that the processes that disrupted development in the person's body, have have also (but not necessary) disrupted aspects of brain development that lead to lower IQ test scores.

Before we get carried away with this finding and starting using calipers to make hiring and college admission decisions, it is important to remember that the kinds of correlations found in these studies, although substantial enough (between .2 and .4) to be scientifically interesting, are not sufficiently strong to suggest that fluctuating asymmetry measures should be used for decisions about individuals, especially in the absence of other information. In the Bates (2007) study, it appeared that highly symmetrical people tended to score higher on intelligence tests but could also score low. In contrast, highly asymmetrical people almost always scored lower on IQ tests. Thus, it appears that asymmetry is a signal that something may have gone wrong with brain development but being symmetrical does not necessarily mean that a person is highly intelligent.

  • Bates, T. C. (2007). Fluctuating asymmetry and intelligence, Intelligence, 35, 41-46. (click here to view)


  • The general factor of mental ability (g) may reflect general biological fitness. If so, g-loaded measures such as Raven's progressive matrices should be related to morphological measures of fitness such as fluctuating asymmetry (FA: left–right asymmetry of a set of typically left–right symmetrical body traits such as finger lengths). This prediction of a negative correlation between FA and IQ was confirmed in two independent samples, with correlations of −0.41 and −0.29, respectively. Head size also predicted Raven's scores but this relationship appeared to be mediated by FA. It is concluded that g along with correlated variables such as head size are in large part a reflection of a more general fitness factor influencing the growth and maintenance of all bodily systems, with brain function being an especially sensitive indicator of this fitness factor.

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CHC intelligence theory and DAS and WJ III

The following article, which provides support for the CHC Theory of Cognitive Abilities, as well providing important information on the CHC classifications of the individual tests from the DAS and WJ III intelligence batteries, was recently published in Psychology in the Schools.

Given my obvious conflict of interest (co-author of WJ III), as well as the credit attributed to me in the recognition of CHC theory in the article (I'm humbled), I'm not going to comment on the contents. Read and make your own judgments.

  • Sanders, S., McIntosh, D., Dunham, M., Rothlisberg, B. Finch, H. (2007). Joint confirmatory factor analysis of the Differential Ability Scales and the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities--Third Edition. Psychology in the Schools, Vol. 44(2), 119-138 (click here to view)
  • This study examined the underlying constructs measured by the Differential Ability Scales (DAS; C.D. Elliott, 1990a) as they relate to the Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) Theory (K.S. McGrew, 1997) of cognitive abilities. The DAS and Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities (WJIII COG; R.W.Woodcock, K.S. McGrew, N. Mather, 2001) were administered to 131 children in grades 3 through 5 who took part in a concurrent validity study included in the Woodcock- Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities, Third Edition, technical manual (K.S. McGrew R.W. Woodcock, 2001). Confirmatory factor analyses using maximum likelihood estimation were conducted with the AMOS 5.0 (J.L. Arbuckle, 2001) statistical program to evaluate three models of increasing complexity, to compare how well each fit the data set, and to identify the one that best described the underlying constructs measured by the DAS. Results suggested that the synthesized Three-Stratum CHC Model provided the most parsimonious representation among the three models tested.
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Personality assessment in the schools - special journal issue

The current issue of Psychology in the Schools is a special issue devoted to personality assessment in the schools (click here to view listing of articles). The editorial intro article can be viewed here.

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Recent literature of interest - 3-7-07

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

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Wechsler, WAIS-III, WAIS-R, WISC-R, WISC-III, WISC-IV, WPPSI, etc bibliography

Ok......I'll be upfront with the purpose of this post. I've noticed that one of the key set of terms that bring new people to this blog are Wechsler, WAIS-III, WISC-IV, WPSSI-R, WISC-R, etc. Yes.....the Wechsler intelligence batteries continue to be the traditional choice for measures of intelligence and probably are the most written about intelligence batteries. Thus, I decided to search my personal IAP Procite Reference Database (which I've maintained for 15 years or so) to see how many references I've captured over the years.

I decided to share this list of 349 Wechsler-related references with my readers. Click here to view, download, print, etc. Of course, I hope the use of the Wechsler keywords will bring in some new readers to this humble blog.


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Monday, March 05, 2007

On Intelligence and Jeff Hawkins

Thanks to Mind Hacks for additional comments regarding the research and theorization of computational neuroscientist Jeff Hawkins ("On Intelligence), whose work was previously mentioned on this blog.

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Fast ForWord references

Over on the NASP listserv the following question regarding the efficacy of the Fast ForWord program was posed--- "Does anyone know of any peer-reviewed research (not research done themselves) on either of these programs: Fast ForWord or Earobics. We have a family wanting the school to purchase these programs and use them to remediate reading, executive functioning, and other processing deficits. Last I knew, these programs did not have evidence-based support other than their own research. I would like research regarding support or lack thereof? Thank you in advance."

I just ran a quick search of the IAP Procite Reference database and found the following articles that have the keywords Fast ForWord associated with them. I do not know if these are articles of research "other than their own evidence."
  • Bishop, D. V. M., Adams, C. V., Rosen, S. (2006). Resistance of grammatical impairment to computerized comprehension training in children with specific and non-specific language impairments. International Journal of Language Communication Disorders, 41(1), 19-40.
  • Gillam, R. B., Loeb, D. F., FrielPatti, S. (2001). Looking back: A summary of five exploratory studies of Fast ForWord. American Journal of Speech Language Pathology, 10(3), 269-273.
  • Gillam, S. L., Gillam, R. B. (2006). Making evidence-based decisions about child language intervention in schools. Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, 37(4), 304-315.
  • Johnson, C. J. (2006). Getting started in evidence-based practice for childhood speech-language disorders. American Journal of Speech Language Pathology, 15(1), 20-35.
  • Rouse, C. E., Krueger, A. B. (2004). Putting computerized instruction to the test: a randomized evaluation of a ''scientifically based'' reading program. Economics of Education Review, 23(4), 323-338.
  • Valentine, D., Hedrick, M. S., Swanson, L. A. (2006). Effect of an auditory training program on reading, phoneme awareness, and language. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 103(1), 183-196.

Cognitive flexibility, executive function, and Glr

I sometimes skim journal articles with titles that are not directly related to my major areas of domain expertise and interest. Quite often I'm surprised to find little descriptions of important cognitive/intellectual phenomena in the literature reviews, even though the primary purpose of the study is not of significant interest to my work. Today I stumbled across one of these "lit review" gems in an article about Parkinson's Disease (PD).

The article dealt with cognitive flexibility, which, over the many years of my career in research practice, had come to have a certain psychological meaning to me. Contemporary research often refers to cognitive flexibility as a part of executive functioning (EF).

This article connected some nodes in my fishing new of cognitive/intellectual I thought I'd share this little tidbit. The bottom line is that the construct of cognitive flexibility can be thought of as having two different means of expression in human behavior. I liked the description of the two. The information is presented below [italics added by the blogmaster]. The "spontaneous" component of flexibility refers to the CHC broad stratum II ability of Glr (Broad Retrieval Ability), while the reactive component is more associated with EF For some reason I had not made this connection previously. My mental schema feel better now.

If anyone is interested in the substantive portions of this article by Tomer et al. (2007) in Neuropsychologia, click here.

  • Although there is still controversy regarding the exact nature of this impairment, deficits in cognitive flexibility have been among the most noticeable cognitive difficulties encountered by patients with PD (e.g. Brown 1988; Cools, 2005; Cooper et al., 1991; Lees Smith, 1983).
  • Cognitive Fexibility refers to the ability to shift avenues of thought and action in order to perceive, process and respond to situations in different ways (Eslinger Grattan, 1993). It is an essential requirement for regulating one’s behaviour, and as such, it is one component of executive functions. However, the impairment in cognitive flexibility in Parkinson’s disease (PD) is by no means a universal finding and some studies do not find such deficits (Piatt, Fields, Paolo, Koller, Troster, 1999; Troster et al., 1998). Many factors may contribute to this variability including the nature of the tasks employed in the various studies, and the characteristics of the patients studied.
  • Cognitive flexibility is not a unitary process. Eslinger and Grattan (1993) distinguished between two types of cognitive flexibility: (1) reactive flexibility, which they defined as the readiness to shift cognition and behaviour according to the demands of the situation, is usually evaluated by performance on set-shifting tasks and (2) spontaneous flexibility is the ability to generate a flow of ideas and answers, often in response to a single question. This is most often assessed with fluency tasks (such as word, design or ideational fluency).

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Multitasking bad for teenagers?

Interesting news coverage at re: the increase in apparent multitasking by teens and whether it is bad for brain development during the formative years.

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Neural mechanisms of story inference in reading

Thanks to the ENL blog for the post, with link to the original journal article, on a recent fMRI study that investigated the neural mechanisms that may underlie story inferences during reading.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Phonological and auditory temporal processing theories of dyslexia

I just skimmed the following "in press" article and found the introduction and discussion to be excellent overviews of the phonological deficit and auditory temporal processing theories of severe reading disability (dyslexia). Regardless of the interpretation of the results, and the small sample size, the introduction and discussion sections are worth reading simply to become more familiar with the central features of the phonological deficit vs auditory temporal processing theories of dyslexia.
  • Boets, B., Wouters J., van Wieringen A. & Ghesquiere, P. (in press). Auditory processing, speech perception and phonological ability in pre-school children at high-risk for dyslexia: A longitudinal study of the auditory temporal processing theory. Neuropsychologia. (click here to view)
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