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Selective attention in cerebral palsied and normal children

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Noninstitutionalized, educable retarded, spastic cerebral palsied children of two mental age (MA) levels were compared with normal MA controls on a task measuring selective attention and were not found deficient in selective attention. For both the cerebral palsied and the normals there was an increase in selective attention efficiency with an increase in MA. The results support the position that MA rather than chronological age or IQ is the important variable in determining selective attention performance. The results do not support the attention-deficit theory; they do support the argument that institutionalization has a negative affect on attention. The effects of brain damage and retardation on selective attention ability were discussed.

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Author information

Correspondence to Daniel P. Hallahan.

Additional information

Thanks are expressed to Eleanor Rennie, Head Teacher, Robert Massie, Supervisor of Special Education, and E. F. DeFord, Assistant Director, Department of Research for the Richmond Public Schools, Richmond, Virginia. Appreciation is also given to Scott Hamrick, Principal, Jackson Via Elementary School, Charlottesville, Virginia. Susan Autrey is also thanked for assistance in data collection.

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Hallahan, D.P., Stainback, S., Ball, D.W. et al. Selective attention in cerebral palsied and normal children. J Abnorm Child Psychol 1, 280–291 (1973). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00917738

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  • Negative Affect
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Important Variable
  • Brain Damage
  • Selective Attention