Effects of visual and auditory distraction on paired-associate learning of brain-injured and non brain-injured children



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Sixty male subjects (Ss) between the ages 7-6 and 8-6 from three public school districts were used in the study--30 from regular second grade classes (NON BI) and 30 from special education classes for the brain-injured (BI). The Ss were administered Reading (word recognition) and I.Q. tests. All measured between 85 and 115 I.Q. The Ss were tested individually and asked to learn eight lists of ten paired-associates consisting of four lists of word-pairs and four lists of picture-pairs (modes). The four lists under each mode were presented under four distraction conditions: no distraction, visual distraction, auditory distraction, and combined visual-auditory distraction. The scores for each S_were recorded in terms of the number of correct responses for each of five trials under each of the eight conditions. The data were subjected to analysis of covariance. From analysis of the results it was concluded that: (1) the NON BI performed significantly better (scored higher) than the BI on overall learning performance, (2) both groups combined performed significantly better under no distraction conditions than under any of the three distraction conditions, (3) the combined groups performed significantly better on the non verbal (picture-pair) learning tasks than on the verbal (word-pair) learning tasks, and (4) the BI group was no more adversely affected than the NON BI group by any of the distraction conditions. In addition to (4), another unexpected finding was that the BI learning curves on the four verbal learning tasks were quite different from the learning curves on the non verbal learning tasks and different from all learning curves of the NON BI on both verbal and non verbal learning tasks. This study dealt with some of the conditions of the learning process rather than the correlates of learning behavior which characterize most investigations of BI and NON BI children.



Brain-damaged children.