Hypothesis-Testing Abilities of Language-Impaired Children Hypothesis-testing abilities were assessed using a modification of the discrimination-learning paradigm employed by Nelson, Kamhi, and Apel (1987)  that was designed to minimize the short-term memory demands of the task. Sixteen language-impaired and 16 normal-language children in kindergarten and first and second grades participated in the study. The languageimpaired children ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 1991
Hypothesis-Testing Abilities of Language-Impaired Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Susan Ellis Weismer
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Requests for reprints should be sent to Susan Ellis Weismer, PhD, Department of Communicative Disorders, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1975 Willow Drive, Madison, WI 53706.
Article Information
Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 1991
Hypothesis-Testing Abilities of Language-Impaired Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1991, Vol. 34, 1329-1338. doi:10.1044/jshr.3406.1329
History: Received July 16, 1990 , Accepted February 13, 1991
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1991, Vol. 34, 1329-1338. doi:10.1044/jshr.3406.1329
History: Received July 16, 1990; Accepted February 13, 1991

Hypothesis-testing abilities were assessed using a modification of the discrimination-learning paradigm employed by Nelson, Kamhi, and Apel (1987)  that was designed to minimize the short-term memory demands of the task. Sixteen language-impaired and 16 normal-language children in kindergarten and first and second grades participated in the study. The languageimpaired children solved significantly fewer problems than normal-language controls equated on cognitive level, but the two groups used similar hypothesis types to solve the problems. Type of verbal feedback provided during the hypothesis testing task (explicit vs. nonexplicit) did not significantly affect the performance of either group. These results are interpreted as indicating that language-impaired children demonstrate inefficient use of problem-solving strategies that cannot be attributed solely to memory difficulties. Issues surrounding the investigation of language-impaired children’s cognitive abilities are discussed.

Acknowledgments
I would like to acknowledge Jennifer Erickson for her assistance with various aspects of this project, especially data collection. Others who assisted with development of stimuli, data collection, and reliability judgments include Lisa Soderberg, Tracy Sippl, and
Yvonne Annis. These individuals were coauthors on a paper based on this research that was presented at the Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, St. Louis, 1989.1 also want to thank Thomas Klee, Alan Kamhi, Gary Weismer, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on this paper. Finally, I would like to acknowledge the administrators, speech-language clinicians, and children from Franklin Elementary and Huegel Elementary Schools for their participation in this project.
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