British Journal of Developmental Psychology

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Volume 2 Issue 3 (September 1984), Pages 191-286

Display vs. memory search for digits and faces among mentally handicapped and MA‐matched non‐handicapped youngsters (pages 231-242)

This experiment was designed to explore possible explanations for handicapped individuals' characteristically poor performance on memory scanning tasks. Independent variables included group (mentally handicapped vs. non‐handicapped), type of search (display vs. memory), type of stimuli (digits vs. pictures of unfamiliar boys' faces), and load (2, 3, or 4 items to be searched). Results indicated that handicapped and non‐handicapped groups did not differ when searching displays but did when searching memory, which suggested that the handicapped group's most significant impairment was specific to some aspect of memory search. Handicapped youngsters were also hindered by increasing loads more than control youngsters were. This result as well as impairment in memory search may have been due to handicapped youngsters' relatively short visual spans. The groups did not differ in their response to the two types of stimuli, faces and digits. Facial search was a considerably more demanding task than digit search for handicapped and normal children.

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