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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Auditory-visual and spatial-temporal integration abilities of above average and below average readers Marshall, Malcolm Frederick


The need was presented for further research of reading abilities in their early development, with emphasis on the information processing characteristics of the reader. The approach used was investigation of the sensory integration and cognitive processing abilities of above average and below average readers as inferred from cross-modal and intramodal matching of visual, auditory, spatial and temporal information. The tasks required that a stimulus pattern presented in one modality dimension be compared with a second pattern in either the same or a different modality dimension. Subjects were required to classify pairs of stimuli (standard and comparison) as same or different. With three modality dimensions, namely auditory temporal (AT), visual temporal (VT), and visual spatial (VS), there were nine combinations of paired stimuli. These were AT-AT, AT-VT, AT-VS, VT-AT, VT-VT, VT-VS, VS-AT, VS-VT, and VS-VS. To present these stimuli for matching, in a precise and consistent manner, nine cassette tapes and two electronic circuits were constructed. Stimulus patterns were series of dots (slides), auditory beeps or flashes of a light bulb... Each task contained 30 pairs of items randomly arranged for sameness or difference. Subjects were 72 boys and 72 girls from 24 grade three classes in eight North Delta Schools. Half of each sex group were above average readers (high) and half were below average (low). All four groups were matched for non-verbal intelligence. The mean reading grade level for low readers was 3.2 and for high readers 5.8. Mean I.Q. for all groups was 94. Subjects in small groups received the nine tasks in a counterbalanced order of presentation over a period of 10 weeks. Analysis of variance results showed a significant main effect for reading with high readers superior on all matching tasks. A very strong main effect was found for the standard stimulus due mainly to the (easy) VS patterns and to the greater difficulty of VT standards. A strong main effect was also found for the comparison stimuli due to easier VS comparisons. A significant standard X comparison interaction indicated that VT standards made AT comparisons more difficult than with AT standards, while the reverse held for VT comparisons. A significant comparison X reading interaction showed the same disordinal interaction of AT and VT stimuli, particularly for low readers. As there was no significant main effect for sex, data were pooled across sex and factor analysed by principal components solution with varimax rotation. Different factor loadings for high and low readers indicated that different cognitive processes were involved in the integration of auditory, visual, spatial and temporal information by these two groups. Tasks loaded on spatial and temporal factors rather than visual and auditory. Inspection showed that purely spatial tasks were easiest while purely temporal tasks were most difficult. Pairwise comparisons showed that cross-modal matches were significantly more difficult than intramodal only for low readers. Similarly, processing temporal information in the visual modality was significantly more difficult than processing spatial information, only for low readers. An item analysis examined the discriminatory power of items within the tasks in terms of point biserial correlations and item structure. Kuder-Richardson formula 20 reliabilities showed the tasks to be of adequate reliability. Findings were discussed in relation to the modality-specific view of sensory functioning which appeared to apply only to low readers. Findings were also discussed in terms of the writing of Luria, deriving from studies of brain-behaviour relationships, and the paradigm of simultaneous and successive processing arising out of Luria's work. Implications of the findings for reading were drawn and some suggestions as to how the findings might be applied to remedial practices were made.

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