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Spatial, verbal processing and syntactic decoding

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Page, Noele C(Noele Christine) 1987 , 'Spatial, verbal processing and syntactic decoding', Unspecified thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

For the Token Test to be a valid measure of syntactic decoding
competence, performance must be substantially independent of
capabilities in the domain to which its items refer (spatial
arrangements of tokens). McNicol & Morice (1985) found that scores
on their new syntactically more complex version of the Token Test
loaded on a visual-spatial as well as a language factor.
This result is pertinent to a contentious issue concerning the
extent to which the encoding of verbal and visual-spatial information
is domain specific or dependent upon common central control,. If the
encoding is domain specific, then a score on the Token Test may
reflect either a single language deficit or multiple language,
visual-spatial or other deficits according to the relative importance
of such specific skills for task requirements. However, if the
encoding is dependent upon central control, then a general cognitive
deficit may underlie both linguistic and visual-spatial processing.
This thesis reviewed clinical literature pertaining to the Token
Test, particularly that which established its claim as a specific
test of subtle receptive impairment. The findings of subsequent
studies which posited specific and general non-verbal factors as
critical for the test's discriminatory sensitivity were also examined.
Literature which conceptualized the nature and processing of
mental representations from an information processing viewpoint was
reviewed. The dual and common-code or propositional positions
represented by Paivio (1969) & Pylyshyn (1973) were outlined together
with the findings of studies which have tested their alternative
hypotheses. The possibility for resolution of these opposing views
offered by the notion of working memory was considered, though with
the accompanying emergence of fresh controversy between hypotheses of
central and distributed processing control.
An experiment was undertaken which involved two levels of
syntactic complexity in the form of embedded and non-embedded clauses
being manipulated with the presence or absence of inherently spatial
referents. These were within the syntactic stimuli and in two
corresponding interfering tasks.
Inteference logic (Brooks, 1968) was used to determine whether
the verbal and spatial processing requirements were parallel or
single channel. Additive factor logic (Sternberg, 1969) was used to
determine whether the syntactic decoding occurred within a same or
separate stage from either the verbal or combined verbal and spatial
processing demands of the syntactic task.
Unexpectedly, the results showed an inconsistent complexity
effect and, contrary to the Brooks (1968) prediction, there was a
like modal facilitation trend of verbal task performance by the
verbal interfering task. Design weaknesses were suggested to account
for these outcomes. With these reservations, the data were
tentatively suggested to most closely resemble the central processing
model. This assumed that decoding of syntax occurred together with
that of other verbal and spatial information. The central processing
model was consistent with theories which posited either a common
abstract propositional code (Pylyshyn, 1973) or central executive
control (Baddeley, 1981).
The implication of the findings for Token Test performance was
that spatial ability and other general processing skills may well
influence Token Test results.
A need for further investigation incorporating methodological
refinements was suggested, to enable stronger conclusions to be drawn.

Item Type: Thesis - Unspecified
Authors/Creators:Page, Noele C(Noele Christine)
Keywords: Token Test, Psycholinguistics
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1987 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (M.Psych)--University of Tasmania, 1988. Bibliography: leaves 70-76

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