THE COGNITIVE STYLES OF MENTALLY RETARDED, LEARNING DISABLED, EMOTIONALLY DISTURBED AND NORMALLY ACHIEVING SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS: A MULTIVARIATE ANALYSIS

GAY GOBLIRSCH KNUTSON, Marquette University

Abstract

Special education personnel have had little theoretical research on which to base treatment programs for the mentally retarded, learning disabled, and emotionally disturbed students who were guaranteed a public school education for their special needs by federal law (P.L. 94-142) in 1975. Cognitive styles are seen as qualitative modes of cognitive functioning. Examples are perception of the environment, organization of concepts, speed of response, range of attention, and tolerance of ambiguity. The purpose of this study was to investigate the differential effects of five cognitive style variables on 96 already classified special education and normally achieving students in public secondary schools. The research measures used were the Hidden Figures Test, response latency for the Hidden Figures Test, the Category Width Scale, and Sigel Conceptual Styles Test, and the Tolerance of Ambiguity Scale. The results of the multivariate data analysis (MANOVA) were that there are significant group differences between mentally retarded, learning disabled, emotionally disturbed, and normally achieving students on the five variate group vectors beyond the p < .0001 level. In addition, a stepwise discriminant function analysis was computed in which each of the five cognitive style variables contributed significantly to the group separation at the p < .01 level. The discriminant function was successful in classifying the students into the four special classifications by cognitive style alone in 49% of the cases. Results of the study suggest that there is a differential pattern of cognitive style in mentally retarded, learning disabled, emotionally disturbed, and normally achieving students. Individual group patterns could be used as a basis for the development of selective treatment programs.

Recommended Citation

KNUTSON, GAY GOBLIRSCH, "THE COGNITIVE STYLES OF MENTALLY RETARDED, LEARNING DISABLED, EMOTIONALLY DISTURBED AND NORMALLY ACHIEVING SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS: A MULTIVARIATE ANALYSIS" (1983). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI8317277.
https://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI8317277

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