Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Brain games to test memory@AlvaroF, 4/25/11 1:51 PM

Alvaro Fernandez (@AlvaroF)
4/25/11 1:51 PM
Brain Games to Test Your Memory: Ready to see how well you can remember random words or, more difficult, names? ...

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Educational Psychologist

IQ tests and motivation@PsychNews, 4/26/11 9:06 AM

Psychology News (@PsychNews)
4/26/11 9:06 AM
IQ Tests Measure Motivation, Not Just Intelligence, Say Researchers

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

OMG. TXT knw = btr splg

Kreiner, D. S., & Davis, D. L. (2011). KNOWLEDGE OF TEXT MESSAGE ABBREVIATIONS AS A PREDICTOR OF SPELLING ABILITY. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 112(1), 295-309.

The relationships of self-reported text messaging frequency and knowledge of text message abbreviations with spelling ability were investigated. Two studies were conducted in which the college student participants provided self-reports of text messaging frequency, responded to a test of knowledge of text message abbreviations, and completed a standardized spelling test. In both studies, self-reported text messaging frequency was not predictive of scores on the spelling test. Knowledge of text message abbreviations was positively correlated with spelling scores. In the second study, spelling ability was positively correlated with processing time to identify abbreviations as real. The results were not consistent with the idea that better knowledge of text messaging is predictive of lower spelling ability. Instead, individuals with better knowledge of abbreviations tended to be better spellers

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Cup-o-Joe favors extraverts working memory--give me an extra shot! You can sleep when you are dead

Smillie, L. D., & Gokcen, E. (2010). Caffeine enhances working memory for extraverts. Biological Psychology, 85(3), 496-498

Using a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled design we examined the effects of caffeine on working memory (WM) as a function of extraverted personality. Participants (N = 59) received 200 mg of caffeine and placebo in counterbalanced-order over two sessions prior to completing a ‘N-Back’ WM paradigm. Findings revealed that caffeine administration relative to the placebo condition resulted in heightened WM performance, but only for extraverted participants. We suggest based on previous theory and research that dopamine function (DA) may be the most plausible mechanism underlying this finding

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The mysteries of time and the brain

A most interesting essay on the mysteries of brain timing in the New Yorker.

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Neuropsychological abilities related to early written language expression

Very interesting study on the neuropsychological constructs related to beginning writing. The abstract, initial CFA/SEM model, and the final CFA/SEM model are presented below. The initial model was not found plausible due to significant multicolinearity between a number of the measures (variance from some measures could be perfectly predicted from other tests, either singly, or in linear combination with other measures). Most intriguing conclusion for me is the clear importance of executive functioning (very broadly operationalized in the final model) for beginning writing. A good article for this interested in early writing and writing disabilities to get and digest.

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Cognitive and linguistic factors and reading. Special Reading and Writing issue

The journal Reading and Writing has a special issue devoted to cognitive and linguistic factors and reading. Click here to a link to the introductory overview article.

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Differential Ability Scales (DAS-II): General factor loadings and specificity - article "in press"

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Time perception and happiness. Time expanders happier than futurists, reminiscers, and time restricters

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Research bytes: MS & Gs, numerical development, working memory & bilinguals, Ga-pseudo word repetition tasks, etc

Denney, D. R., Gallagher, K. S., & Lynch, S. G. (2011). Deficits in Processing Speed in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis: Evidence from Explicit and Covert Measures. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 26(2), 110-119

Cognitive slowing in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) has been documented by numerous studies employing explicitly timed measures in which speed of responding is an obvious focus of task performance. The present study examined information processing speed in MS patients and controls with a computerized battery of covertly timed as well as explicitly timed measures. The explicit measures were derived from two tests requiring rapid serial processing of visual stimuli, the Stroop Test and a Picture Naming Test. Covert measures were derived from the Rotated Figures Test, Remote Associates Test, and Tower of London, all tasks in which participants’ attention was drawn toward arriving at an accurate solution, and the latency with which they arrived at these solutions was timed by the computer “behind the scenes.” Significant differences in processing speed for patients and controls occurred on both types of measures, although the effect sizes were notably larger on the explicit measures.

Jones, G. (2011). A computational simulation of children's performance across three nonword repetition tests. Cognitive Systems Research, 12(2), 113-121

The nonword repetition test has been regularly used to examine children’s vocabulary acquisition, and yet there is no clear explanation of all of the effects seen in nonword repetition. This paper presents a study of 5–6year-old children’s repetition performance on three nonword repetition tests that vary in the degree of their lexicality. A model of children’s vocabulary acquisition is then presented that captures the children’s performance in all three repetition tests. The model represents a clear explanation of how working memory and long-term lexical and sub-lexical knowledge interact in a way that is able to simulate repetition performance across three nonword tests within the same model and without requiring test specific parameter settings

Bonifacci, P., Giombini, L., Bellocchi, S., & Contento, S. (2011). Speed of processing, anticipation, inhibition and working memory in bilinguals. Developmental Science, 14(2), 256-269.

Literature on the so-called bilingual advantage is directed towards the investigation of whether the mastering of two languages fosters cognitive skills in the non-verbal domain. The present study aimed to evaluate whether the bilingual advantage in non-verbal skills could be best defined as domain-general or domain-specific, and, in the latter case, at identifying the basic cognitive skills involved. Bilingual and monolingual participants were divided into two different age groups (children, youths) and were tested on a battery of elementary cognitive tasks which included a choice reaction time task, a go/no-go task, two working memory tasks (numbers and symbols) and an anticipation task. Bilingual and monolingual children did not differ from each other except for the anticipation task, where bilinguals were found to be faster and more accurate than monolinguals. These findings suggest that anticipation, which has received little attention to date, is an important cognitive domain which needs to be evaluated to a greater extent both in bilingual and monolingual participants

Hyde, D. C., & Spelke, E. S. (2011). Neural signatures of number processing in human infants: evidence for two core systems underlying numerical cognition. Developmental Science, 14(2), 360-371

Behavioral research suggests that two cognitive systems are at the foundations of numerical thinking: one for representing 1–3 objects in parallel and one for representing and comparing large, approximate numerical magnitudes. We tested for dissociable neural signatures of these systems in preverbal infants by recording event-related potentials (ERPs) as 6–7.5-month-old infants (n = 32) viewed dot arrays containing either small (1–3) or large (8–32) sets of objects in a number alternation paradigm. If small and large numbers are represented by the same neural system, then the brain response to the arrays should scale with ratio for both number ranges, a behavioral and brain signature of the approximate numerical magnitude system obtained in animals and in human adults. Contrary to this prediction, a mid-latency positivity (P500) over parietal scalp sites was modulated by the ratio between successive large, but not small, numbers. Conversely, an earlier peaking positivity (P400) over occipital-temporal sites was modulated by the absolute cardinal value of small, but not large, numbers. These results provide evidence for two early developing systems of non-verbal numerical cognition: one that responds to small quantities as individual objects and a second that responds to large quantities as approximate numerical values. These brain signatures are functionally similar to those observed in previous studies of non-symbolic number with adults, suggesting that this dissociation may persist over vast differences in experience and formal training in mathematics

Schleifer, P., & Landerl, K. (2011). Subitizing and counting in typical and atypical development. Developmental Science, 14(2), 280-291.

Enumeration performance in standard dot counting paradigms was investigated for different age groups with typical and atypically poor development of arithmetic skills. Experiment 1 showed a high correspondence between response times and saccadic frequencies for four age groups with typical development. Age differences were more marked for the counting than the subitizing range. In Experiment 2 we found a discontinuity between subitizing and counting for dyscalculic children; however, their subitizing slopes were steeper than those of typically developing control groups, indicating a dysfunctional subitizing mechanism. Across both experiments a number of factors could be identified that affect enumeration in the subitizing and the counting range differentially. These differential patterns further support the assumption of two qualitatively different enumeration processes.

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What works for math difficulties@NeuropathLrng, 4/19/11 1:26 PM

Neuropath Learning (@NeuropathLrng)
4/19/11 1:26 PM
What works for children with math dificulties? Children who struggle in math usually have difficulty remembering...

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

IQ and Criminal Psychology: Guest blog post

The following is a guest blog post by Allison Gamble. 

IQ and Criminal Psychology

During the early parts of the 20th century, the propensity to commit crimes was thought to have been defined by social class. People in lower classes often had less educational and financial opportunities and, as a result, committed more crime than their wealthier counterparts. Thus, those who studied forensic psychology quickly discovered that a correlation between crime and socioeconomic background could be made based not on IQ or the ability for learning but rather on the availability for opportunity to learn and therefore, succeed. 

For example, in the early 1900s people in lower classes often committed crimes purely out of necessity. In a social structure where socioeconomic differences are evident, it is common for those in the lower class to commit crimes to provide food or means of basic survival. While their IQs may be lower, this is more an affect of birthplace and right than of obvious mental impotence. The same could be assumed today were it not for the availability of social programs, which lessen, to a greater extent, the instances of abject poverty in most industrialized nations. 

However, the correlation between IQ and crime is still debated. In an abstract presented by the Department of Justice, the authors explain that those who commit a disproportionate amount of crime as compared to the rest of the population, share an intellectual level of about 98, with the mean score being around 106. Yet they also argue that a higher level of intelligence may offer a slight social insulation from moving into habitual criminal activities from early childhood into adult maturation.

As such, IQ tests are often used within judicial circles as a means of determining competency to stand trial. Yet, sadly, many offenders who are found to have a lower IQ score continue to be interrogated, tried and convicted for the crimes they may or may not have committed on a level not commensurate, some believe, with their understanding of their own conviction process. This is where IQ testing as it relates to the legal system is hotly debated. An article by Psychology Today, shows that suspects with a lower IQ score often falsely confess to crimes they have not committed due to lack of understanding on their part. 

These instances of false confession lead critics to believe that IQ assessments are perhaps being ignored outright or possibly even misused as a means of basis of conviction. A brief prepared by the New York State Court of Appeals, explains that there is frequently a correlation between suspects with a low IQ and a false confession. It is also noted that although these confessions occur more through coercion during intense interrogation, it appears that the suspects would not have confessed (matter the intensity of the interrogation) to their to the crimes they were accused of were it not for their misunderstanding of their situation. 

Due to the misuse of IQ assessments in the United States legal system, the Supreme Court ruled that certain individuals must have legal statutes as protections against the possible misuse of a general IQ test. These protections are meant to prevent employers, educators and the legal establishment from misusing an individual’s IQ assessment. 

However, criminals with higher IQs are not immune from prosecution once they are captured. Some experts even consider criminals with higher IQs to be more dangerous than those in the lower intelligence categories. When the IQs of serial killers, such as Ted Bundy, are they tested, they often are found to be above average. A study by Julietta Leung notes that the IQs of some serial killers are even considered to be on genius level. 

Sociology and Criminal Justice Professor James Oleson also studied the matter and found intriguing results that even the scales on both sides of the controversy. According to Oleson, criminals with higher IQs focus more on white-collar crime. Since these individuals come from backgrounds where financial resources are more prevalent, they are better able to evade detection and capture for a longer period of time no matter their crime. 

The use of IQ testing as the sole source for determining criminal propensity is controversial and unclear. As mentioned in an article from the University of Delaware, a direct correlation cannot be made between IQ level and criminal patterns or propensity. While IQ testing can show the likelihood of certain individual committing a crime, based on socioeconomic parallels, it cannot determine outright criminal intent nearly as well as a general personality profile, psychological evaluation or simple assessments of historical behaviors. Thus while IQ testing, as employed by the military, educational establishments and the legal system can prove to be a helpful aid in assessing the knowledge, skills and abilities of an individual; it cannot serve as the defining factor in the final adjudication of any individual.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Jean S. Chall Research Grant: Reading research opportunity at Harvard

Below is an FYI post I was asked to share. Good opportunity for someone.

Jeanne S. Chall Research Grant

Scholars in the field of reading research are encouraged to submit applications for the 2011-2012 Jeanne S. Chall Research Grant. The purpose of this grant is to provide a stipend for a scholar to spend a period of time (usually from 2-8 weeks) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education to conduct research utilizing the Jeanne S. Chall Collection on the Teaching of Reading housed in the Monroe C. Gutman Library’s Special Collections Department. Additionally, the researcher will have access to other extensive reading resources available in Special Collections, Gutman Library and elsewhere at Harvard University. The Chall Collection consists of books and other materials related to the history of reading research and the teaching of reading, spanning both the 19th and 20th centuries. Most of the materials are dated from the 1950s through 1980s and include reading textbooks, curriculum sets, and scholarly works.

The research should focus on beginning reading, reading instruction, reading difficulty, or other related topics in the field. Additionally, projects may be historical in nature, focus on textual analysis, or relate to the research and writing of Jeanne Chall. The award will support travel to and from Cambridge and other expenses (up to a total of $2500). Applicants must hold a doctoral degree from an accredited institution of higher learning. Please include a current resume and a project proposal not exceeding 750 words in length. The proposal must include the applicant’s plan to disseminate the work resulting from her or his research. The application deadline is Friday May 13, 2011.

Send to Edward Copenhagen, Special Collections Librarian, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Gutman Library, 6 Appian Way, Cambridge, MA 02138; e-mail submission to: edward_copenhagen@

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FYiPOST: Psychometrika, Vol. 76, Issue 2 - New Issue Alert

For the quant readers of IQ's Corner

Monday, April 18

Dear Valued Customer,
We are pleased to deliver your requested table of contents alert for Psychometrika. Good news: now you will find quick links to the full text of the article. Access the article with only one click!

Volume 76 Number 2 is now available on SpringerLink

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Important News!
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In this issue:
The Generalized DINA Model Framework
Jimmy de la Torre
Abstract    Full text PDF

Polytomous Latent Scales for the Investigation of the Ordering of Items
Rudy Ligtvoet, L. Andries van der Ark, Wicher P. Bergsma & Klaas Sijtsma
Abstract    Full text PDF

Invariant Ordering of Item-Total Regressions
Jesper Tijmstra, David J. Hessen, Peter G. M. van der Heijden & Klaas Sijtsma
Abstract    Full text PDF

Item Screening in Graphical Loglinear Rasch Models
Svend Kreiner & Karl Bang Christensen
Abstract    Full text PDF

Regularized Generalized Canonical Correlation Analysis
Arthur Tenenhaus & Michel Tenenhaus
Abstract    Full text PDF

Three-Way Tucker2 Component Analysis Solutions of Stimuli × Responses × Individuals Data with Simple Structure and the Fewest Core Differences
Kohei Adachi
Abstract    Full text PDF

OpenMx: An Open Source Extended Structural Equation Modeling Framework
Steven Boker, Michael Neale, Hermine Maes, Michael Wilde, Michael Spiegel, Timothy Brick, Jeffrey Spies, Ryne Estabrook, Sarah Kenny, Timothy Bates, Paras Mehta & John Fox
Abstract    Full text PDF

Measuring Growth in a Longitudinal Large-Scale Assessment with a General Latent Variable Model
Matthias von Davier, Xueli Xu & Claus H. Carstensen
Abstract    Full text PDF

Modeling Rule-Based Item Generation
Hanneke Geerlings, Cees A. W. Glas & Wim J. van der Linden
Abstract    Full text PDF

Book Review
J.-P. FOX (2010) Bayesian Item Response Modeling: Theory and Applications.
Hong Jiao
Abstract    Full text PDF
Do you want to publish your article in this journal?
  Heidelberg, Germany, phone: +49 6221 487 0, fax: +49 6221 487 8366

© Springer 2011,

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Research brief: Effect of victim impact evidence on capital decision making


The past several decades have seen the emergence of a movement in the criminal justice system that has called for a greater consideration for the rights of victims. One manifestation of this movement has been the “right” of victims or victims' families to speak to the sentencing body through what are called victim impact statements about the value of the victim and the full harm that the offender has created. Although victim impact statements have been a relatively noncontroversial part of regular criminal trials, their presence in capital cases has had a more contentious history. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned previous decisions and explicitly permitted victim impact testimony in capital cases in Payne v. Tennessee (1991). The dissenters in that case argued that such evidence only would arouse the emotions of jurors and bias them in favor of imposing death. A body of research in behavioral economics on the “identifiable victim effect” and the “identifiable wrongdoer effect” would have supported such a view. Using a randomized controlled experiment with a death-eligible sample of potential jurors and the videotape of an actual penalty trial in which victim impact evidence (VIE) was used, we found that these concerns about VIE are perhaps well placed. Subjects who viewed VIE testimony in the penalty phase were more likely to feel negative emotions like anger, hostility, and vengeance; were more likely to feel sympathy and empathy toward the victim; and were more likely to have favorable perceptions of the victim and victim's family as well as unfavorable perceptions of the offender. We found that these positive feelings toward the victim and family were in turn related to a heightened risk of them imposing the death penalty. We found evidence that part of the effect of VIE on the decision to impose death was mediated by emotions of sympathy and empathy. We think our findings open the door for future work to put together better the causal story that links VIE to an increased inclination to impose death as well as explore possible remedies.

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FYiPOST: Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience

Volume 1, Issue 2 now available for FREE on ScienceDirect.

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Flynn Effect Archive: Kanaya & Ceci (2011) WISC special ed. flynn effect study

Another new study by Kanaya & Ceci on the WISC Flynn effect in special education populations. Next time the FE Archive Project is updated, this will be added.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

FYiPOST: Psychology and Aging - Online First Publications

The following articles have been published online this week before they appear in a final print and online issue of Psychology and Aging:

Effects of age, speed of processing, and working memory on comprehension of sentences with relative clauses.
Caplan, David; DeDe, Gayle; Waters, Gloria; Michaud, Jennifer; Tripodis, Yorghos

The effect of education on the onset and rate of terminal decline.
Batterham, Philip J.; Mackinnon, Andrew J.; Christensen, Helen

Self-referencing enhances memory specificity with age.
Hamami, Ayala; Serbun, Sarah J.; Gutchess, Angela H.

On the specificity of face cognition compared with general cognitive functioning across adult age.
Hildebrandt, Andrea; Wilhelm, Oliver; Schmiedek, Florian; Herzmann, Grit; Sommer, Werner

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Monday, April 11, 2011

FYiPOST: Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment Table of Contents for 1 April 2011; Vol. 29, No. 2

Subject: Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment Table of Contents for 1 April 2011; Vol. 29, No. 2

Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment Online Table of Contents Alert

A new issue of Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment is available online:
1 April 2011; Vol. 29, No. 2

The below Table of Contents is available online at:

Forest Grove School District v. T.A. Supreme Court Case: Implications for School Psychology Practice
Shauna G. Dixon, Eleazar C. Eusebio, William J. Turton, Peter W. D. Wright, and James B. Hale
Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment 2011;29 103-113

Predictors of Social Skills for Preschool Children at Risk for ADHD: The Relationship Between Direct and Indirect Measurements
Lisa B. Thomas, Edward S. Shapiro, George J. DuPaul, J. Gary Lutz, and Lee Kern
Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment 2011;29 114-124

The Flynn Effect in the WISC Subtests Among School Children Tested for Special Education Services
Tomoe Kanaya and Stephen J. Ceci
Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment 2011;29 125-136

Cognitive Characteristics of Treatment-Resistant Children With Reading Disabilities: A Retrospective Study
Deanne Emilie Dukleth Johnson and H. Lee Swanson
Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment 2011;29 137-149

Trait Emotional Intelligence and Academic Performance: Controlling for the Effects of IQ, Personality, and Self-Concept
Mercedes Ferrando, María Dolores Prieto, Leandro S. Almeida, Carmen Ferrándiz, Rosario Bermejo, José Antonio López-Pina, Daniel Hernández, Marta Sáinz, and Mari-Carmen Fernández
Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment 2011;29 150-159

Development of an Infrequency Index for the CAARS
Julie A. Suhr, Melissa Buelow, and Tara Riddle
Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment 2011;29 160-170

Creating Composite Age Groups to Smooth Percentile Rank Distributions of Small Samples
Francesca López, Amy Olson, and Naveen Bansal
Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment 2011;29 171-183

Book Review: Prifitera, A., Saklofske, D. H., & Weiss, L. G. (Eds.). WISC-IV Clinical Assessment and Intervention (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Elsevier, 2008
Anita Sohn McCormick
Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment 2011;29 184-188

Book Review: Cynthia A. Riccio, Jeremy R. Sullivan, and Morris J. Cohen. Neuropsychological Assessment and Intervention for Childhood and Adolescent Disorders. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2010
Adam W. McCrimmon
Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment 2011;29 188-190

Test Review: Autism Spectrum Rating Scales
Amber N. Simek and Andrea C. Wahlberg
Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment 2011;29 191-195

Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment 2011;29 196