Visual hierarchical processing in learning-disabled children
Wexler, Geri S.
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The purpose of this study was to investigate differences between male and female learning disabled and non-learning disabled children on a visual hierarchical processing task.;Children between the ages of 8 and 13 were placed in one of three groups. Group 1 (RLD-1) consisted of learning disabled children who obtained reading and/or spelling Wide Range Achievement - III (WRAT-3) subtest standard scores which were one standard deviation below their Full Scale, Performance, or Verbal IQ standard score, on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - III (WISC-III). Group 2 (ALD-2) consisted of learning disabled children who obtained WRAT-3 arithmetic, reading, and spelling subtest standard scores which were at least 1 standard deviation below their FSIQ, PIQ or VIQ. Group 3 (NLD-3, control group) consisted of children who were performing at grade level.;All children received a visual hierarchical task, consisting of 32 stimulus cards with a standard top square or triangle (global) figure constructed of smaller squares or triangles, consisting of 3-4, 9-10, 15-16 or 36 elements. Two comparison figures at the bottom were similar to the standard figure; one at the global level and one at the local level. The subjects were asked to point to the comparison figures at the bottom that looked most like the (top) standard figure. The response was scores 0 (local choice) or 1 (global choice). A higher global/local score indicates a global processing bias.;A repeated measures factorial ANOVA showed a significant interaction between number of elements and sex. Analyses with RLD-1 children showed that the global/local score for boys and girls did not change significantly according to number of elements in the design. Among children in ALD-2, the global/local score did change significantly according to number of elements in the design, but there was no interaction with sex. In NLD-3, the control group boys did not vary their global/local response choice according to number of elements in the design. Control group girls were significantly influenced by the number of elements and consistently made more local choices when fewer number of elements in the design were present.