Monday, March 31, 2008

IQ Research bytes #3: Visual working memory and (C)APD or auditory (Ga) processing

# 3 in the Research Bytes series. A few tidbits from my afternoon coffee break skim of a few recent research articles:

  • Holmes et al (2008) present results that support the role of the visual-spatial sketchpad (visual-spatial working memory - Gv/Gsm?) and mathematics achievement in elementary-aged children. Of interest is the suggestion that younger children may rely more on the visual-spatial working memory system when first learning mathematics and may switch to more verbally-mediated working memory strategies as they develop (get older). Some usual caveats - relatively small sample size suggests the need for replication. Also, it would have been nice if measures of other CHC constructs would have been included as predictors to reduce the problem of model specification error (aka., variable omission error). If nothing else, the introductory literature review and discussion provide good overviews of current research and theory regarding visual-spatial working memory and its role in mathematics achievement. I find the general consensus that the visual-spatial sketchpad may consist of two different components (visual cache and inner scribe) interesting.

  • It is becoming very clear to me, an educational/school psychologist trained researcher, that important research continues to be published by researchers in the field of speech and language, esp. as it relates to auditory processing (Ga) abilities and assessment. Unfortunately there seems to be little professional cross-fertilization between these respective fields. That being said, I found a recent American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology (DeBonis, 2008) of particular interest re: what some researchers in this field perceive as the state-of-the art of central auditory processing disorders (CAPD). Of interest is the recommendation (that I was not aware of) that this class of learning disorders should be called "auditory processing disorders" (dropping the "central" term). I was a bit dismayed to see the list of representative auditory test batteries not include some reliable and valid Ga tests from a number of contemporary intelligence batteries (probably due to the lack of professional field cross-fertilization referenced above). More disappointing to me was my discovery that there apparently was some type of major "consensus conference on the diagnosis of auditory processing disorders in school-age children" that has apparently not crossed the radar screen in my professions journals. I got another article to read.

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