Year of Publication

2012

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Lorch

Abstract

Academic difficulties are well-documented among children with ADHD. Exploring these difficulties through story comprehension research has revealed deficits among children with ADHD in making causal connections between events, and using causal structure and thematic importance when recalling stories. Important to theories of story comprehension and implied in these deficits is the ability to make inferences. Often, characters’ goals are implicit and explanations of events must be inferred. The purpose of the present study was to compare the ability of 7- to 11-year-old children with ADHD and their comparison peers to make inferences during story comprehension. Children watched two televised stories, each paused at five points. In the experimental condition, at each pause children told what they were thinking about the story, whereas in the control condition no responses were made during pauses. After viewing, children recalled the story. Several types of inferences and accuracy of inferences were coded. Children with ADHD generated fewer of the most essential inferences, accurate coherence inferences, than did comparison children, both during story processing and during story recall. The groups did not differ on production of other types of inferences. Generating fewer coherence inferences has important implications for story comprehension deficits in children with ADHD.

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