Memory intrusions in young adults with and without language learning disability




Blecher, Virginia Grace

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This report investigated the various types of memory intrusion errors of adults with language learning disability (LLD) in comparison to age- and gender-matched typically developing (TD) adults using lists that are specifically designed to induce memory intrusions adapted from Roediger and McDermott (1995) and modified by Watson et al. (2001; 2003). The 28 participants between the ages of 18:9 - 24:3 listened to pre-recorded lists of twelve words that converged on a critical lure either semantically, phonologically, or dually with a hybrid list. This report tested the hypotheses that 1) hybrid lists would be more likely to induce memory intrusions of the critical lure than either semantic or phonological lists for each group; 2) adults with LLD would demonstrate more intrusion errors than their TD counterparts; 3) the error profiles of the LLD and TD groups should be largely similar; however, the adults with LLD might show deficits in extracting the semantic gist of word lists in light of such patterns in children with specific language impairment (Sheng & McGregor, 2010a). Results showed that the hybrid lists induced the greatest number of critical lure intrusions producing a super-additive effect. Contrary to our hypothesis, the LLD group did not produce more memory intrusions than the TD group. The fact that the two groups performed similarly on all standardized measures suggests that the participants with LLD may have outgrown their disability. Results also revealed that interference and intrusions increased when there was an increase in phonological similarity among words for both groups. Lastly, our preliminary evidence suggests that adults with LLD are not as efficient as their TD counterparts at extracting the gist of semantically-related words. The inclusion of a greater number of participants may provide stronger support for the hypothesis that lexical-semantic organization is less efficient in young adults with LLD.



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