Advertisement

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 575–596 | Cite as

Neurological soft signs and school achievement: The mediating effects of sustained attention

  • Irvin Sam Schonfeld
  • David Shaffer
  • Joseph E. Barmack
Article

Abstract

A group of 115 black male adolescents drawn from a clinically unselected birth cohort, half of whom were known to have had neurological soft signs at age 7, were examined at age 17 to determine the relation between soft signs and performance on standard tests of school achievement and sustained attention. Three signs measured at age 17-dysgraphesthesia, difficulties with rapid alternating movements (dysdiadochokinesis), and motor slowness—were related to lower concurrent and past IQ and to impaired performance on laboratory and paper-and-pencil measures of sustained attention. The relation between signs and the attentional measures remained significant after IQ was statistically controlled. The three age 17 soft signs as well as age 7 signs were related to impaired performance on standardized tests (age 17) of school achievement. Most of the relation between signs and school achievement could be accounted for by the variance signs shared with sustained attention. One sign, mirror movements, was unrelated to all other attentional and cognitive measures.

Keywords

Variance Sign Standard Test Birth Cohort Sustained Attention Male Adolescent 
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.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Adams, R. M., Kocsis, J. J., & Estes, R. E. (1974). Soft neurological signs in learning-disabled children.American Journal of Diseases of Children, 128, 613–618.Google Scholar
  2. Armitage, S. G. (1946). An analysis of certain psychological tests used for the evaluation brain injury.Psychological Monographs, 60(1) (Whole No. 277).Google Scholar
  3. Berk, R. A. (1982). Verbal-performance IQ discrepancy score: A comment on reliability, abnormality, and validity.Journal of Clinical Psychology, 38, 638–641.Google Scholar
  4. Bortner, M., Hertzig, M. E., & Birch, H. G. (1972). Neurological signs and intelligence in brain-damaged children.Journal of Special Education, 6, 325–333.Google Scholar
  5. Botwinick, J., & Thompson, L. W. (1966). Premotor and motor components of reaction time.Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71, 9–15.Google Scholar
  6. Buchsbaum, M. S., Murphy, D. L., Coursey, R. D., Lake, C. R., & Ziegler, M. G. (1978). Platelet monoamine oxidase in a “biochemical high risk” sample.Journal of Psychiatric Resources, 14, 215–223.Google Scholar
  7. Cattell, R. B. (1963). Theory of fluid and crystallized intelligence: A critical experiment.Journal of Educational Psychology, 54, 1–22.Google Scholar
  8. Davies, A. D. M., & Davies, D. R. (1975). The effects of noise and time of day upon age differences in performance at two checking tasks.Ergonomics, 18, 321–336.Google Scholar
  9. Davies, D. R., Jones, D. M., & Taylor, A. (1984). Selective- and sustained-attention tasks: Individual and group differences. In R. Parasuraman & D. R. Davies (Eds.),Varieties of attention (pp. 395–447). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  10. Diller, L., & Weinberg, J. (1970). Evidence for accident-prone behavior in hemiplegic patients.Archives of Physical and Medical Rehabilitation, 58, 358–363.Google Scholar
  11. Gilberg, C., & Rasmussen, P. (1982). Perceptual, motor and attentional deficits in seven-year-old children: Background factors.Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 24, 752–770.Google Scholar
  12. Hertzig, M. (1982). Neurological “soft” signs in low-birthweight children.Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 23, 778–791.Google Scholar
  13. Hertzig, M. E., (1981). Stability and change in nonfocal neurological signs.Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 21, 231–236.Google Scholar
  14. Kaufman, A. S. (1982).Intelligent testing with the WISC-R. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  15. Mohan, J., Sehgal, M., & Bhandari, A. (1982). Intelligence, sex, and vigilance.Personality and Individual Differences, 3, 343–344.Google Scholar
  16. Nichols, P. L., & Chen, T. C. (1981).Minimal brain dysfunction: A prospective study. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  17. Paulsen, K. (1978). Reflection-impulsivity and level of maturity.Journal of Psychology, 99, 109–112.Google Scholar
  18. Quitkin, F., Rifkin, A., & Klein, D. F. (1976). Neurologic soft signs in schizophrenia and character disorder.Archives of General Psychiatry, 33, 845–853.Google Scholar
  19. Reitan, R. M. (1955). The relation of trail making to organic brain damage.Journal of Consulting Psychology, 19, 393–395.Google Scholar
  20. Rosvold, H. E., Mirsky, A. F., Sarason, I., Bransome, E. D., & Beck, L. H. (1956). A continuous performance test of brain damage.Journal of Consulting Psychology, 20, 343–350.Google Scholar
  21. Schonfeld, I. S. (1986). The Genevan and Cattell-Horn conceptions of intelligence compared: The early implementation of numerical solutions aids.Developmental Psychology, 22, 204–212.Google Scholar
  22. Schonfeld, I. S., Shaffer, D., O'Connor, P., & Portnoy, S. (1988). Conduct disorder and cognitive functioning: Testing three causal hypotheses.Child Development, 59, 993–1007.Google Scholar
  23. Shafer, S. Q., Shaffer, D., O'Connor, P. A., & Stokman, C. J. (1983). Hard thoughts on neurological soft signs. In M. Rutter (Ed.),Developmental neuropsychiatry (pp. 133–143). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  24. Shafer, S. Q., Stokman, C. J., Shaffer, D., Ng, S. K-C., O'Connor, P. A., & Schonfeld, I. S. (1986). Ten-year consistency of neurological test performance in boys without focal deficits.Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 28, 417–427.Google Scholar
  25. Shaffer, D., Schonfeld, I., O'Connor, P. A., Stokman, C., Trautman, P., Shafer, S., & Ng, S. (1985). Neurological soft signs and their relationship to psychiatric disorder: Their relationship to psychiatric disorder and intelligence in childhood and adolescence.Archives of General Psychiatry, 42, 342–352.Google Scholar
  26. Shaywitz, S. E., Shaywitz, B. A., McGraw, K., & Groll, S. (1984). Current status of the neuromaturational examination as an index of learning disability.Journal of Pediatrics, 104, 819–825.Google Scholar
  27. Stankov, L. (1983). Attention and intelligence.Journal of Educational Psychology, 75, 471–490.Google Scholar
  28. Stine, O. C., Saratsiotis, J. M., & Mosser, R. S. (1975). Relationships between neurological findings and classroom behavior.American Journal of Diseases of Children, 129, 1036–1040.Google Scholar
  29. Stokman, C. J., Shafer, S. Q., Shaffer, D., Ng, S. K-C., O'Connor, P. A., & Wolfe, R. (1986). Assessment of neurological “soft signs” in adolescents: Reliability studies.Development Medicine and Child Neurology, 28, 428–439.Google Scholar
  30. Sutton, S., Hakerem, G., Zubin, J., & Portnoy, M. (1961). The effect of shift of sensory modality on serial reaction-time: Comparison of schizophrenics and normals.American Journal of Psychology, 74, 224–232.Google Scholar
  31. Sutton, S., & Zubin, J. (1965). Effect of sequence on reaction time in schizophrenia. In A. T. Welford & J. E. Birren (Eds.),Behavior, aging and the nervous system (pp. 562–597). Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.Google Scholar
  32. Weinberg, J., Diller, L., Gordon, W. A., Gerstmann, L. J., Lieberman, A., Lakin, P., Hodges, G., & Ezrachi, O. (1977). Visual scanning training effect on reading-related tasks in acquired right brain damage.Archives of Physical and Medical Rehabilitation, 58, 479–486.Google Scholar
  33. Weiss, A. D. (1965). The locus of reaction time change with set, motivation, and age.Journal of Gerontology, 20, 60–64.Google Scholar
  34. Wolff, P. H., & Hurwitz, I. (1973). Functional implications of minimal brain damage syndrome.Seminars in Psychiatry, 5, 105–115.Google Scholar
  35. Wolff, P. H., Waber, D., Bauermeister, M., Cohen, C., & Ferber, R. (1982). The neuropsychological status of adolescent delinquent boys.Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 23, 267–279.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irvin Sam Schonfeld
    • 1
    • 2
  • David Shaffer
    • 3
    • 4
  • Joseph E. Barmack
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Social and Psychological FoundationsCity College of New YorkNew York
  2. 2.Columbia UniversityUSA
  3. 3.Division of Child PsychiatryColumbia UniversityNew York
  4. 4.New York State Psychiatric InstituteNew York

Personalised recommendations