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The development of short-term memory in deaf children

MacSweeney, Mairéad Finola; (1998) The development of short-term memory in deaf children. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Deaf people do not have full access to the auditory component of spoken language. This thesis tackled the question 'what impact does this have on their STM representations and overall STM performance?' Also, how does impoverished exposure to auditory spoken language affect the development of STM coding and STM ability? To answer these questions deaf subjects of different ages were tested on immediate recall of pictures in a variety of paradigms. Recall by deaf teenagers, but not deaf adults, was impaired by non-articulatory concurrent tasks. It is argued that this indicates a delay in the development of central executive processes in deaf people. There was evidence for the use of multiple STM codes. Young deaf children (eight-year-olds), like their hearing RA controls, used a visual STM code. This code was also used by deaf teenagers but was supplemented by the use of a speech-based code, which was also used by deaf adults. However, there was no evidence for the widespread use of sign-based coding in these studies. The use of a speech-based STM code and overall STM ability were closely related to reading age, both at the individual level (correlational analyses) and at the group level (in comparison to RA controls). Speech rate and sign rate were also related to these skills. Deaf people did not use this code as efficiently as hearing people. Nevertheless, speech-based coding was widely used by deaf readers, even when the task demands did not necessitate its use. Finally deaf, but not hearing, children were better at recall of still pictures of 'dynamic' concrete items than static items. It is argued that variation in early experiences of deaf and hearing children leads to subtle differences in semantic organisation, which are reflected in STM performance.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The development of short-term memory in deaf children
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10099809
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