Using Ratings to Gain Insight Into Conceptual Development PurposeThe authors explored a novel technique with potential for assessing conceptual development. Participants rated how “normal” to “really weird” an image was in order to determine whether (a) participants would rate images by amount of variation (slight/significant) from the standard image, (b) participants would treat variation related to different concepts ... Article
Article  |   October 01, 2013
Using Ratings to Gain Insight Into Conceptual Development
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mary Alt
    University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Christina Meyers
    University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Paul M. Alt
    Lower Mill Pond Works, Brewster, MA
  • Correspondence to Mary Alt: malt@email.arizona.edu
  • Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor: Janna Oetting×
  • Associate Editor: Nina Capone-Singleton
    Associate Editor: Nina Capone-Singleton×
Article Information
Development / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language
Article   |   October 01, 2013
Using Ratings to Gain Insight Into Conceptual Development
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2013, Vol. 56, 1650-1661. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2013/11-0317)
History: Received November 15, 2011 , Revised April 22, 2012 , Accepted January 12, 2013
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2013, Vol. 56, 1650-1661. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2013/11-0317)
History: Received November 15, 2011; Revised April 22, 2012; Accepted January 12, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

PurposeThe authors explored a novel technique with potential for assessing conceptual development. Participants rated how “normal” to “really weird” an image was in order to determine whether (a) participants would rate images by amount of variation (slight/significant) from the standard image, (b) participants would treat variation related to different concepts equally, or (c) there would be developmental differences in these ratings. Then, authors asked whether children with specific language impairment (SLI) would demonstrate weaker conceptual skills based on their ratings.

MethodAdults and school-age children (with and without SLI) used a 9-point equal-appearing interval scale to rate photographic images of animals. These included standard images and images that altered the animals' shape, pattern, color, and facial morphometry.

ResultsSignificant differences in ratings were obtained for adults compared with typically developing children and children with SLI compared with their age-matched peers. This is in line with the expectation that adults have stronger representations than children, as do typical children compared with those with SLI. Participants differentially rated images that varied from the standard image (slight/significant) for all parameters except shape.

ConclusionProbing conceptual representations without the need for verbal response has the potential for exploring conceptual deficits in SLI.

Acknowledgments
The work presented in this article was funded by a National Institutes of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Research Grant R03 DC006841, awarded to the first author, and by support from the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research Training Grants (T32DC009398) from the National Institute for Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, awarded to the second author. We would also like to acknowledge all the participants who took part in the study, the members of the L4 Lab for their help with data collection, and Elena Plante for her insightful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.
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