ERIC Number: EJ877695
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Apr
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 35
Searching for the Hebb Effect in down Syndrome: Evidence for a Dissociation between Verbal Short-Term Memory and Domain-General Learning of Serial Order
Mosse, E. K.; Jarrold, C.
Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, v54 n4 p295-307 Apr 2010
Background: The Hebb effect is a form of repetition-driven long-term learning that is thought to provide an analogue for the processes involved in new word learning. Other evidence suggests that verbal short-term memory also constrains now vocabulary acquisition, but if the Hebb effect is independent of short-term memory, then it may be possible to demonstrate its preservation in a sample of individuals with Down syndrome, who typically show a verbal short-term memory deficit alongside surprising relative strengths in vocabulary. Methods: In two experiments, individuals both with and without Down syndrome (matched for receptive vocabulary) completed immediate serial recall tasks incorporating a Hebb repetition paradigm in either verbal or visuospatial conditions. Results: Both groups demonstrated equivalent benefit from Hebb repetition, despite individuals with Down syndrome showing significantly lower verbal short-term memory spans. The resultant Hebb effect was equivalent across verbal and visuospatial domains. Conclusions: These studies suggest that the Hebb effect is essentially preserved within Down syndrome, implying that explicit verbal short-term memory is dissociable from potentially more implicit Hebb learning. The relative strength in receptive vocabulary observed in Down syndrome may therefore be supported by largely intact long-term as opposed to short-term serial order learning. This in turn may have implications for teaching methods and interventions that present new phonological material to individuals with Down syndrome.
Descriptors: Down Syndrome, Short Term Memory, Vocabulary Development, Teaching Methods, Experiments, Disabilities, Spatial Ability, Intervention, Models, Serial Ordering, Repetition, Recall (Psychology)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
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