Understanding the cognitive deficit in mental retardation
Anderson, M. (1986) Understanding the cognitive deficit in mental retardation. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, 27 (3). pp. 297-306.
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Arguments can and have been presented to suggest that retardation may be as much a function of socio-political measures (Mercer, 1973), of learned helplessness (Weisz, 1982), and of institutionalisation (Balla & Zigler, 1982) as it is a function of cognitive deficit. However, the basic premise of this paper is that the primary cause of retardation is cognitive deficit. This view has many supporters (Zeaman & House, 1963; Ellis, 1963; Milgram, 1982).
What approach to understanding the underlying cognitive deficit holds the most promise? Currently there are two principal theoretical frameworks for considering individual differences in intelligence, which offer radically different interpretations. One is a psycho-physiological approach (Eysenck, 1982;Jensen, 1982), and the other is provided by mainstream cognitive psychology (Sternberg, 1978, 1983, 1984; Hunt, Lunneborg & Lewis, 1975; Hunt, 1980). Both of these approaches will be discussed and evaluated. Before we do so it is necessary to consider what phenomena should form the data base of a study of the cognitive deficit in mental retardation.
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