Icelandic and Norwegian past tense morphology contain strong patterns of inflection and two weak patterns of inflection. We report the results of an elicitation task that tests Icelandic and Norwegian children's knowledge of the past tense forms of a representative sample of verbs. This cross-sectional study of four-, six- and eight-year-old Icelandic (n = 92) and Norwegian (n = 96) children systematically manipulates verb characteristics such as type frequency, token frequency and phonological coherence--factors that are generally considered to have an important impact on the acquisition of inflectional morphology in other languages. Our findings confirm that these factors play an important role in the acquisition of Icelandic and Norwegian. In addition, the results indicate that the predominant source of errors in children shifts during the later stages of development from one weak verb class to the other. We conclude that these findings are consistent with the view that exemplar-based learning, whereby patterns of categorization and generalization are driven by similarity to known forms, appropriately characterizes the acquisition of inflectional systems by Icelandic and Norwegian children.
This paper presents a longitudinal study on the acquisition of first, second, and third person pronouns in twelve French-speaking and twelve English-speaking children. Comprehension and production data were collected every two months, beginning when the subjects were aged 1;6 and ending once pronouns were fully acquired. Three hypotheses concerning the rules children develop in learning pronouns were tested: (1) the person-role hypothesis (Charney, 1980), (2) the speech-role hypothesis (Clark, 1978), and (3) the name hypothesis (Clark, 1978). An analysis of children's pronominal confusion when they were addressed listeners as well as when they were non-addressed listeners was performed. The results indicated that the mastery of pronouns did not follow the developmental sequence predicted by the speech-role hypothesis; they provided evidence for the person-role hypothesis only when children were speakers, and partially supported the name hypothesis. The data also suggested that pronominal confusion is not a rare phenomenon among children tested in a non-addressee context. Finally, effects of child gender and native language were observed. Possible interpretations of the data discussed.
The over-representation of reading and spelling difficulties in children with complex communication needs has been well documented. However, most of the studies reported have indicated that at least some children using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) can achieve and demonstrate effective literacy skills, highlighting the heterogeneity of this group. This paper presents findings from a cross-linguistic study of 14 Swedish and 14 Irish children with cerebral palsy who use AAC, outlining their performance on a range of phonological awareness, reading, and spelling tasks developed for the purposes of the study. All participants were referred to the study as functioning in the average range of intellectual ability. Of the 28 participants, eight were classified as good readers, on the basis of their success on tasks involving connected text; while 10 presented with single-word reading skills; and 10 were categorized as non-readers. This paper explores the similarities and differences within and across these groups, in terms of associated skills and experiences. While analyses of group data suggests some common abilities and difficulties, exploration of individual profiles highlights the heterogeneity of the participants' profiles, suggesting a need for detailed individual assessment and interventions.
The safety and tolerability of short-term treatment with a low dose of risperidone was evaluated in adolescents with prodromal symptoms and a family history of schizophrenia.
Four prodromal high-risk adolescents and six first-episode patients with schizophrenia were treated with average doses of 1.0 and 1.8 mg/day of risperidone, respectively, in an 8- to 12-week open-label trial.
No significant treatment-related adverse events were noted. Severity of thought and behavior disturbance ratings declined by about 30%; performance on a test of verbal learning improved by about 100% during treatment in both prodromal and first-episode patients, changes that achieved statistical significance despite the small group sizes.
These findings are preliminary and should not be used to guide health care decisions at this time. Randomized controlled trials are needed to determine whether antipsychotic drug treatment of prodromal patients can delay or prevent onset or attenuate the clinical course of schizophrenia.
The notion of 'fluency' is most often associated with spoken-language phenomena such as stuttering. The present article investigates the relevance of considering fluency in writing. The basic argument for raising this question is empirical-it follows from a focus on difficulties in written and spoken language as manifestations of different problems which should be investigated separately on the basis of their symptoms. Key-logging instruments provide new possibilities for the study of writing. The obvious use of this new technology is to study writing as it unfolds in real time, instead of focusing only on aspects of the end product. A more sophisticated application is to exploit the key-logging instrument in order to test basic assumptions of contemporary theories of spelling. The present study is a dictation task involving words and non-words, intended to investigate spelling in nine-year-old pupils with regard to their mastery of the doubling of consonants in Norwegian. In this study, we report on differences with regard to temporal measures between a group of strong writers and a group of poor ones. On the basis of these pupils' writing behavior, the relevance of the concept of 'fluency' in writing is highlighted. The interpretation of the results questions basic assumptions of the cognitive hypothesis about spelling; the article concludes by hypothesizing a different conception of spelling.
Depressive symptoms are frequently observed in older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). However, little is known regarding the cognitive characteristics of this important subgroup.
We examined executive functions (controlled inhibition) and verbal episodic memory in 33 healthy older adults (control group), 18 older adults with amnestic MCI plus subclinical depressive symptoms (a-MCI/D+ group), and 26 older adults with amnestic MCI but no depressive symptoms (a-MCI group).
Compared to the a-MCI and control groups, patients with a-MCI/D+ showed poor controlled inhibition. Moreover, in verbal episodic memory these patients recalled fewer words than control participants on immediate free, delayed free, and delayed total (free plus cued) recall. Performance on immediate recall suggested a self-retrieval deficit, but delayed performance also revealed the existence of an encoding impairment. In the a-MCI group, participants exhibited normal performance on the executive task, but pervasive memory impairment; the memory deficit concerned free and total recall on both immediate and delayed tasks, suggesting the existence of encoding and self-retrieval disturbances.
This study reveals differences between the pattern of cognitive impairment for a-MCI/D+ and a-MCI subgroups particularly at the level of executive capacities. In terms of memory functioning, the differences between the subgroups were more subtle; more studies are needed in order to better characterize the memory impairment of a-MCI/D+ and a-MCI patients.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is one of the key molecules modulating brain plasticity. While low circulating levels of BDNF have been suggested to predispose to Alzheimer's disease, very little data are available on its association with cognitive function in general population. We evaluated the association between plasma BDNF levels and cognition in a representative population sample of ageing men and women. The subjects (n=1389) were participants of the Dose-Responses to Exercise Training (DR's EXTRA) Study and represent a random sample of Eastern Finnish people (684 men and 705 women), 57-79 years of age at baseline of the study. Plasma BDNF levels were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Cognitive function was evaluated using the Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease (CERAD) neuropsychological test battery. Women had a higher mean (+/-SEM) plasma BDNF level than men (1721+/-55vs. 1495+/-54pg/ml, P
The behavioral effects of long-term exposure to a mixture of organic solvents were investigated in a comparison of the test results of 100 car painters with those of a reference group. The test battery included tests for intelligence, memory, psychomotor performances, and personality. In addition to the comparison of the mean results, two discriminant function analyses were made. In one, only the performance test variables were used, but in the other personality variables were also included. The results indicated impairments in psychological performances, as well as personality changes in the exposed group. Impairments in visual intelligence and verbal memory and a reduction of emotional reactivity were the central features of the adverse effects of solvent exposure, but the behavioral disturbances also involved several other functions, including performance on a verbal intelligence test. The possible role of the differences in the initial intelligence levels were controlled with a separate comparison of the test results of 33 pairs of exposed and nonexposed subjects who were matched for age and for their intelligence level, measured during the military service. The discriminant function analyses were based on the results of these matched subgroups and tested in the rest of the material. According to the results the sensitivity of the psychological test methods was high, but the specificity somewhat low, with regard to solvent exposure. The concentration of various solvents included in the exposure of car painters were low, the summated exposure corresponding corresponding to 32% of the Finnish threshold limit value. The possible role of a potentiating effect of the solvent in the development of behavioral disturbances is discussed.
A total of 104 six-year-old children belonging to 4 groups (English monolinguals, Chinese-English bilinguals, French-English bilinguals, Spanish-English bilinguals) were compared on 3 verbal tasks and 1 nonverbal executive control task to examine the generality of the bilingual effects on development. Bilingual groups differed in degree of similarity between languages, cultural background, and language of schooling. On the executive control task, all bilingual groups performed similarly and exceeded monolinguals; on the language tasks the best performance was achieved by bilingual children whose language of instruction was the same as the language of testing and whose languages had more overlap. Thus, executive control outcomes for bilingual children are general but performance on verbal tasks is specific to factors in the bilingual experience.
Cutoff scores suggested by Millis, Putnam, Adams, and Ricker (1995) for detecting suboptimal performance on indices from the California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT) were evaluated using data from 193 compensation-seeking participants. All participants claimed to have suffered a blow to the head in an accident causing subsequent deterioration in cognitive function. The participants were divided into those with negligible or possible mild brain injuries and those with clear evidence of moderate to severe brain injuries. In addition to the CVLT, all participants were administered the Computerized Assessment of Response Bias (CARB), a two-alternative forced choice test of recognition memory that is used to detect feigned cognitive impairment. For all CVLT indices, the distributions of outcome (valid vs. suboptimal performance) was unrelated to age and brain injury severity, and only weakly associated with education. However, a significantly higher proportion of males than females obtained scores in the suboptimal performance range. The CVLT indices were not fully redundant with each other with respect to binary participant classifications; substantial disagreement between pairwise classifications was found among those participants who obtained at least one score in the suboptimal performance range. CVLT index classifications were also found to be non-redundant with classifications based on CARB scores. The CVLT may thus add useful data over and above that obtained from symptom validity testing. However, the data suggest that the use of the strategy where any one or more below-cutoff CVLT scores are considered a positive indicator of suboptimal performance may be associated with a higher than acceptable false-positive error rate.