Toward a Technology of Generalization How Many Exemplars Are Sufficient? Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 1991
Toward a Technology of Generalization
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mary Elbert
    Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Thomas W. Powell
    Ball State University, Muncie, IN
  • Paula Swartzlander
    CRF Speech & Language Associates Greenville, NC
  • Requests for reprints should be sent to Mary Elbert, Ph.D., Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405.
Article Information
Development / Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 1991
Toward a Technology of Generalization
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1991, Vol. 34, 81-87. doi:10.1044/jshr.3401.81
History: Received October 31, 1989 , Accepted May 17, 1990
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1991, Vol. 34, 81-87. doi:10.1044/jshr.3401.81
History: Received October 31, 1989; Accepted May 17, 1990

This descriptive study examined the number of minimal-word-pair exemplars necessary for 19 phonologically impaired children to meet a generalization criterion. For 59% of the test cases, three exemplars were sufficient for generalization to occur. Five exemplars were sufficient in 21% of the test cases, and it was necessary to teach 10 different exemplars in 14% of the test cases. In 7% of the test cases, generalization did not occur despite treatment on 10 exemplars. Although generalization usually occurred following treatment using a small number of exemplars, there was substantial variability across individual subjects. There was no apparent relationship between specific sounds and the likelihood of generalization; however, the data from some children suggested that treatment on one sound enhances learning of subsequent sounds. The theoretical and clinical implications of these findings are discussed.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported in part by a grant to Indiana University from the National Institutes of Health, No. NS20976.
The authors would like to acknowledge the insightful comments of the anonymous reviewers and especially those of Carol Stoel-Gammon, Stephen Camarata, and Harriet Klein.
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