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Social information processing in child psychiatric populations


This study examined three kinds of social information-processing deficits in child psychiatric populations. The deficits studied were response decision biases, hostile attributional biases, and cue-utilization deficiencies. Subjects were diagnosed as hyperactive/aggressive (H/A) (n=24), exclusively hyperactive (n=14), exclusively aggressive (n=14), psychiatric control (n =23), and normal control (NC) (n=60) boys according to procedures suggested by Loney and Milich (1982). They were administered several tasks to solicit information-processing patterns. The H/A group was found to be deficient in all three areas asssessed, relative to the NC group. They were also deficient in response decisions and cue-utilization, relative to the other three groups of psychiatrically referred boys. Discriminant function analyses demonstrated that the H/A group displayed a distinct processing pattern. These results were found to be relevant to the study of behavior disorders, to social information processing theory, and to intervention efforts with these boys.

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Author information

Correspondence to Richard Milich.

Additional information

This work was supported by NIMH Grant No. 32992, awarded to the first author, and NIMH Grant No. 37062, awarded to the second author.

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Milich, R., Dodge, K.A. Social information processing in child psychiatric populations. J Abnorm Child Psychol 12, 471–489 (1984).

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  • Normal Control
  • Behavior Disorder
  • Discriminant Function
  • Normal Control Group
  • Processing Theory