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Individual Differences in the Measurement of Early Cognitive Growth NICHD

Lewis, Michael
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), Attention, Cognitive Development, Cognitive Measurement, Individual Differences, Infants, Models, Preschool Children


This paper is divided into several sections which move from the more general to the highly specific. The first section deals with some broad issues surrounding the topic of attention, including schema development and attention as a measure of individual cognitive capacity. The second section, proposes some models for viewing the attentional process. This includes discussions of internal representations of external events, the nature and definition of an external event, problems in a matching process hypothesis, and an attempt to resolve those problems in a new general model of attending. The third section deals with the more specific issue of the relationships between normal intellectual functioning and attention. This section includes discussion of subject variables associated with cognitive function--including 1) age differences, 2) mother- infant interactions, 3) social class and play behavior, 4) waking and sleeping states, and 5) concept formation, discrimination learning and IQ scores. The last, and most specific section, deals with Central Nervous System (CNS) dysfunction in infants and children, and with the more specific consequences of some of the broader, more theoretically oriented sections. This section includes a consideration of response decrement and CNS dysfunction as an application of the study of individual differences in cortical functioning. The summary section integrates the entire chapter and concludes that since response decrement measures both CNS function and dysfunction, it is a valuable research tool for the investigator of individual differences in the opening years of life. (JGL)

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