Journal Article

Varieties of Short-Term Memory Coding in Deaf Teenagers

Mairead MacSweeney, Ruth Campbell and Chris Donlan

in The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

Volume 1, issue 4, pages 249-262
Published in print January 1996 | ISSN: 1081-4159
Published online January 1996 | e-ISSN: 1465-7325 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.deafed.a014300
Varieties of Short-Term Memory Coding in Deaf Teenagers

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Two experiments explored qualitative aspects of immediate memory for pictures in deaf teenagers by attempting to equate for memory span and then imposing systematic manipulations on encoding and rehearsal. In experiment 1, deaf teenagers and hearing children of different ages were tested using a variety of code-suppression activities during presentation. All subjects were affected by articulatory suppression (AS). In addition, a simple motor task (hand-tapping) reduced span in the deaf group and the youngest hearing group. A sign-suppression task, using both hands, specifically impaired recall in the deaf. In experiment 2, deaf 15-year-olds and hearing five-, eight-, and 11-year-olds were tested on serial recall of visually, phonologically, and forma-tionally (sign language) similar picture lists. Overall, deaf youngsters resembled their reading-age matches (eight-year-olds). Their recall of phonologically and visually similar pictures suggested that, at this level of memory development, both speech and picture-based codes support immediate recall. We conclude that deaf teenagers in Britain today resemble reading-age-matched hearing children in using both speech-based and image-based codes in immediate recall of pictures. Results also suggest that deaf youngsters use sign language-based coding in this task. That is, they use a combination of codes.

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Subjects: Education ; Linguistics ; Teaching of Specific Groups and Special Educational Needs

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