Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 285–306 | Cite as

Problem solving in hyperactive, normal, and reading-disabled boys

  • Judy L. Tant
  • Virginia I. Douglas


Diagnostic problem solving was examined in groups of hyperactive, normal, and nonhyperactive reading disabled boys matched on age and verbal IQ. On the matrix solution task employed (a version of the game of 20 Questions) hyperactives used less efficient questions and strategies than the other two groups, in spite of the task being designed to maximize the performance of the hyperactives. Readingdisabled children were not significantly worse than normal children on the task. The results were interpreted as suggesting that the attentional difficulties of hyperactives retard the development of strategies for solving complex problems. Nonhyperactive reading disabled children may be less affected in this area because of the absence of significant attentional difficulties.


Complex Problem Normal Child Matrix Solution Disable Child Diagnostic Problem 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ackerman, P. T., Dykman, R. A., & Peters, J. E. Teenage status of hyperactive and nonhyperactive learning disabled boys.American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 1977,47, 577–596.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, R. P., Halcomb, C. G., & Doyle, R. B. The measurement of attentional deficits.Exceptional Children, 1973,39, 534–539.Google Scholar
  3. Ault, R. L. Problem solving strategies of reflective, impulsive, fast-accurate, and slow-inaccurate children.Child Development, 1973,44, 259–266.Google Scholar
  4. Bindra, B.A theory of intelligent behavior. New York: Wiley, 1976.Google Scholar
  5. Brown, A. L. Development, schooling, and the acquisition of knowledge about knowledge. In R. C. Anderson, R. J. Spiro, & W. E. Montague (Eds.),Schooling and the acquisition of knowledge. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Erlbaum, 1977.Google Scholar
  6. Campbell, S. B., Douglas, V. I., & Morgenstern, G. Cognitive styles in hyperactive children and the effect of methylphenidate.Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 1971,12, 55–67.Google Scholar
  7. Clements, S. D., & Peters, J. Minimal brain dysfunction in the school age child.Archives of General Psychiatry, 1962,6, 185–197.Google Scholar
  8. Cohen, N. J., & Douglas, V. I. Characteristics of the orienting response in hyperactive and normal children.Psychophysiology, 1972,9, 238–245.Google Scholar
  9. Cohen, N. J., Weiss, G., & Minde, K. Cognitive styles in adolescents previously diagnosed as hyperactive.Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 1972,13, 203–209.Google Scholar
  10. Conners, C. K. A teacher rating scale for use in drug studies with children.American Journal of Psychiatry, 1969,126, 884–888.Google Scholar
  11. Conners, C. K. Symposium: Behavior modification by drugs: II. Psychological effects of stimulant drugs in children with minimal brain dysfunction.Pediatrics, 1972,49, 702–708.Google Scholar
  12. Douglas, V. I. Sustained attention and impulse control: Implications for the handicapped child. In J. A. Swets & L. L. Elliott (Eds.),Psychology and the handicapped child. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Office of Education, 1974.Google Scholar
  13. Douglas, V. I. Higher mental processes in hyperactive children: Implications for training. In R. M. Knights & D. J. Bakker (Eds.),Treatment of hyperactive and learning disordered children: Current research. Baltimore: University Park Press, 1980.Google Scholar
  14. Dunn, L. M.Peabody picture vocabulary test. Circle Pines, Minnesota: American Guidance Service, 1959.Google Scholar
  15. Durrell, D. D.Durrell analysis of reading difficulty. New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1955.Google Scholar
  16. Firestone, P., & Douglas, V. I. The effects of reward and punishment on reaction times and autonomic activity in hyperactive and normal children.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 1975,3, 201–216.Google Scholar
  17. Flavell, J. H. Developmental studies and mediated memory. In H. W. Reese & L. P. Lipsitt (Eds.),Advances in child development and behavior (Vol. 5). New York: Academic Press, 1970.Google Scholar
  18. Flavell, J. H. First discussant's comments: What is memory development the development of?Human Development, 1971,14, 272–278.Google Scholar
  19. Freibergs, V., & Douglas, V. I. Concept learning in hyperactive and normal children.Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 1969,74, 388–395.Google Scholar
  20. Grunewald-Zuberbier, E., Grunewald, G., & Rasche, A. Hyperactive behavior and EEG arousal reactions in children.Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology, 1975,38, 149–159.Google Scholar
  21. Hebb, D. O. Physiological learning theory.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 1976,4, 143–309.Google Scholar
  22. Hoy, E., Weiss, G., Minde, K., & Cohen, N. The hyperactive child at adolescence: Cognitive, emotional, and social functioning.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 1978,6, 311–324.Google Scholar
  23. Juliano, D. B. Conceptual tempo, activity, and concept learning in hyperactive and normal children.Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 1974,83, 629–634.Google Scholar
  24. Kagan, J., Rosman, B. L., Day, D., Albert, J., & Phillips, W. Information processing in the child: Significance of analytic and reflective attitudes.Psychological Monographs, 1964,78(1, Whole No. 578).Google Scholar
  25. Keogh, B. K. Hyperactivity and learning disorders: Review and speculation.Exceptional Children, 1971,7, 47–50.Google Scholar
  26. Keogh, B. K., & Margolis, J. S. A component analysis of attentional problems of educationally handicapped boys.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 1976,4, 349–360.Google Scholar
  27. McKinney, J. D. Problem-solving strategies in reflective and impulsive children.Journal of Educational Psychology, 1975,67, 807–820.Google Scholar
  28. Messer, S. B. Reflection-impulsivity: A review.Psychological Bulletin, 1976,83, 1026–1052.Google Scholar
  29. Mosher, F. A., & Hornsby, J. R. On asking questions. In J. S. Bruner, R. R. Olver, & P. M. Greenfield (Eds.),Studies in cognitive growth. New York: Wiley, 1966.Google Scholar
  30. Neimark, E. D. Longitudinal development of formal operations thought.Genetic Psychology Monographs, 1975,91, 171–225.Google Scholar
  31. Neisser, U.Cognition and reality. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman, 1976.Google Scholar
  32. Peters, K. G.Selective attention and distractibility in hyperactive and normal children. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, McGill University, 1977.Google Scholar
  33. Forges, S. W., Walter, G. F., Korb, R. J., & Sprague, R. L. The influences of methylphenidate on heart rate and behavioral measures of attention in hyperactive children.Child Development, 1975,46, 727–733.Google Scholar
  34. Ross, D. M., & Ross, S. A.Hyperactivity: Research, theory, and action. New York: Wiley, 1976.Google Scholar
  35. Sroufe, L. A. Drug treatment of children with behavior problems. In F. Horowitz (Ed.),Review of child development research (Vol. 4). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1975.Google Scholar
  36. Sykes, D., Douglas, V. I., & Morgenstern, G. Sustained attention in hyperactive children.Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 1973,14, 213–220.Google Scholar
  37. Torgesen, J. K.The role of non-specific factors in the task performance of learning disabled children: A theoretical assessment. Report #65, Developmental Program, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104, May, 1975.Google Scholar
  38. Vygotsky, L. S.Thought and language. Cambridge: M.I.T. Press, 1962.Google Scholar
  39. Weiss, G., Minde, K., Douglas, V. I., Werry, J., & Nemeth, R. Studies on the hyperactive child. VIII. Five-year follow-up.Archives of General Psychiatry, 1971,24, 409–414.Google Scholar
  40. Winer, B. J.Statistical principles in experimental design (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill, 1971.Google Scholar
  41. Wright, J. C., & Viliestra, A. G. The development of selective attention from perceptual exploration to logical search.Advances in Child Development and Behavior, 1975,10, 196–235.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judy L. Tant
    • 1
  • Virginia I. Douglas
    • 1
  1. 1.McGill UniversityCanada

Personalised recommendations