Learning and Memory Strategies in the Mentally Retarded

Part of the Springer Series in Cognitive Development book series (SSCOG)


The development and use of strategic skills may well be the most researched topic in the broad areas of learning and memory in the mentally retarded (see Detterman, 1979; Ellis, 1979). Interest in control processing in the retarded was spurred by the theoretical insights of Norman Ellis (1970). Having pioneered work on structural deficits in retarded learning (Ellis, 1963), he began to shift his research focus in the late 1960s to rehearsal processes as key factors in explaining the memory failures of retarded children. Ellis (1970) concluded that differential performance of mentally retarded and nonretarded individuals on memory tasks was due to the former’s failure to use active rehearsal strategies. For instance, retarded individuals recalled as many items as nonretarded individuals on the last few positions of a serial list, but significantly fewer items on the early positions of the list. It is important to note that the earlier items require active rehearsal processing for good recall. Since an increase in exposure time did not noticeably enhance memory for earlier items for retarded individuals, Ellis (1970) concluded that rehearsal deficiencies characterized the encoding processes of the mentally retarded.


Transfer Test Strategy Training Strategy Maintenance Strategy Generalization Memory Strategy 
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