THE RELATIONSHIP OF ATTENTIONAL AND/OR PERCEPTUAL IMPAIRMENTS TO THE SOCIAL PROBLEM-SOLVING ABILITIES OF KINDERGARTEN CHILDREN

MADELINE SHERMAN FRIEDENTHAL, Fordham University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of deficits in attentional and perceptual functioning on two measures of social problem solving--alternative thinking and consequential thinking. The results were further delineated by the variable of sex. The effect of IQ was covaried out in order to reduce the unexplained variability.^ The subjects in the study were 120 kindergarten children drawn from the total kindergarten population of a northeastern school district. The children were assigned to one of four groups--those having deficits in attentional functioning, perceptual functioning, both attentional and perceptual functioning, and those having no deficits according to their scores on the independent measures. The Search battery was used to measure perceptual functioning, while the Span of Attention Test and the Central-Incidental Task were used to measure attentional functioning. The Kuhlmann-Anderson Test--Seventh Edition--Booklet K was used to provide IQs. The dependent measures included the Preschool Interpersonal Problem Solving Test as a measure of alternative thinking, and the What Happens Next Game as a measure of consequential thinking.^ The analyses of the data indicated that the hypotheses which predicted that children with deficit functioning in attention and perception as a total group would score lower than children with normal attentional and perceptual functioning on the two ICPS measures were confirmed. Hypotheses which predicted that boys with deficit functioning would score lower than girls with deficit functioning on the ICPS measures were not confirmed. The hypothesis which predicted a difference between the scores of children with only perceptual problems and those with only attentional problems on alternative thinking was not confirmed. However, the hypothesis which made the same prediction for consequential thinking was confirmed. Children with problems in perceptual functioning scored significantly lower on consequential thinking. Hypotheses which predicted that there would be a difference between the scores of children with both attentional and perceptual problems and those with only attentional problems on alternative thinking and consequential thinking, respectively, were not confirmed. Likewise, the hypothesis which made the prediction that there would be a difference between the scores of children with both attentional and perceptual problems and those with only perceptual problems on alternative thinking was not confirmed, whereas the hypothesis which made the same prediction for consequential thinking was confirmed. In this case, children having only perceptual problems scored significantly lower on consequential thinking than those having both attentional and perceptual problems.^ The results of this study indicate that attentional and perceptual problems are associated with deficiencies in alternative thinking and consequential thinking in the kindergarten age range. Furthermore, in terms of consequential thinking, deficits in perceptual functioning appear to have the most pervasive effect. Two hypotheses were presented to explain why, for consequential thinking, children with only perceptual deficits scored lower than those with both attentional and perceptual deficits. The first hypothesized that those youngsters having both deficits were instead a different group of attentionally deficited youngsters who have difficulty taking school-like tests but who can function successfully on the nonschool-like dependent measures. The second hypothesized that the specific cluster of perceptual deficits in the group having only perceptual deficits was different from that cluster in the group having both deficits. The results of this study point out the importance of providing training in interpersonal cognitive problem-solving skills in populations of children having attentional and perceptual problems. ^

Subject Area

Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

FRIEDENTHAL, MADELINE SHERMAN, "THE RELATIONSHIP OF ATTENTIONAL AND/OR PERCEPTUAL IMPAIRMENTS TO THE SOCIAL PROBLEM-SOLVING ABILITIES OF KINDERGARTEN CHILDREN" (1981). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8109065.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8109065

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