Working Memory &Categorization in ID

Project: Research project

Project Details


[unreadable] DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This application seeks to advance the study of the relation between working memory and categorization in individuals with and without intellectual disability (ID). Working memory and categorization are two fundamental intellectual processes crucial for an individual's ability to effectively process and organize his or her environment. Working memory is a limited capacity memory system that keeps relevant information activated while performing a cognitive task. Categorization is the process whereby an individual groups exemplars or events based on perceived common properties and in turn, exemplars of that category are treated equivalently. The availability of working memory resources influences which categorization strategies can be used. More working memory resources are required for rule-based categorization than similarity or exemplar-based categorization. Individuals with ID have limitations in working memory functioning, yet within the memory system there are relative strengths and weaknesses. Whether working memory strengths and weaknesses influence the use of different categorization strategies has never been systematically studied in individuals with ID. Findings from the few cases that have applied current models of categorization to individuals with ID are conflicting. The consequence of not being able to use appropriate categorization strategies has significant implications; individuals would make incorrect inferences regarding a novel object and therefore make inappropriate generalizations. Further, categorization skills are essential for proficiency at many higher order cognitive skills such as language, communication, problem-solving, and reasoning. The specific aims of this application are to 1) determine if working memory functioning predicts the use of specific categorization strategies in individuals with and with ID, and (2) assess whether different learning conditions that place different demands on working memory resources affect the use of categorization strategies. Phonological, visuo-spatial, and central executive measures of working memory will be administered. Artificial categories of different animals and toys will be taught to participants. Stimuli will be designed to allow for evaluation of the type of strategies used by individuals with and without ID during categorization. To create appropriate interventions, it is important to determine whether different learning conditions result in more effective strategy use by individuals with ID. Therefore, the conditions under which participants learn the categories will be manipulated - a passive (observe) and active (classify) - prior to a categorization task. [unreadable] [unreadable]
Effective start/end date6/7/045/31/07


  • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: $72,250.00


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