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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Performance of deaf and hearing children on color-picture and color-word paired associates with natural, neutral and reversed conditions. Casey, Emmett N.


Prelingual, profoundly deaf children (90 db. loss unaided in the better ear over the speech range) lack one major sensory channel essential for normal learning, therefore they must rely almost exclusively on vision for learning. They must learn to make meaningful visual associations in order to understand the world around them. These associations have particular relevance for language acquisition and communication. A child with normal hearing makes visual associations too, (e.g. white with milk), however, this child has the additional auditory and vocal information input to assist the learning process. Unlike his deaf counterpart, he often hears the word "milk" without seeing the object which the word represents. Furthermore, if a picture of an object is presented to a child, he can say the word it represents. As a child matures and develops, he learns to read and write these words and has therefore some degree of linguistic competence. Here language will mean the spoken and written language of a culture. Language affects mediation, which is defined as a response or series of responses which intervene between the external stimulus and the overt response to provide stimulation that influences the eventual course of behaviour, (Kendler and Kendler, 1959). The mediation habits of hearing and deaf children provided a theoretical framework for this study. Color-Picture (C-P) and Color-Word (C-W) experiential and task paired associates were compared utilizing three conditions: (natural) matched, neutral, and reversed for two age levels of deaf and hearing children, CA 7 and CA 11. The number of errors in associations was the response measure and the data were analyzed by a 2x2x2x3 analysis of variance with replication. The specific hypotheses tested were: (1) The deaf Ss would have significantly lower mean error scores on the reversal condition than their hearing peers. (2) The CA 7 year old group would have significantly higher mean error scores than the CA 11 year group. (3) The Color-Word task would produce significantly higher mean error scores than the Color-Picture task. (4) The reversal condition would have significantly more mean errors than the neutral or matched condition. Justification for these hypotheses are: (1) The study by Furth and Youniss (1964) found the deaf Ss made fewer errors on the reversal condition. This was interpreted to be a result of less verbally mediated interference by the deaf. (2) Developmental studies indicate better performance by older groups. (Furth 1964, Reese 1959, Kendler and Kendler 1961). (3) Furth and Youniss (1964) found an interference condition (reversal) more difficult than a non-interference condition (neutral, matched). (4) A-priori, Color-Word association requires more abstraction than Color-Picture and is therefore more difficult. The results of the analysis of variance indicated: (1) No significant difference was found •between hearing Ss and deaf Ss. (2) A significant difference (p<. 01) between CA 7 and CA 11, the older group making fewer errors. (3) The reversal condition was significantly the most difficult of the three conditions (p<.01). (4) A significant difference (p<. 01) between tasks, the C-W task accounting for more errors. Significant Two Way Interactions (p<.01) were noted: Age x Hearing Status and Age x Task. A Three Way Interaction - Age x Task x Conditions was also significant (p<.05). The absence of a significant difference in performance by hearing and deaf Ss was contrary to one of the major hypotheses of the study. This seems to indicate that the mediation habits of the two hearing status groups, whatever their nature, do not significantly differentiate the groups in performance on association type tasks. The significant differences found between Age, Task and Conditions as main effects are not independent but must be qualified by the statistically significant interaction among these three variables.

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