Center of Child Neuropsychology
This study investigated the level of conceptual and metacognitive abilities and their interaction in adolescents with different forms of dysontogenesis. The total sample (N= 173) included four groups of young adolescents (11-12 years old): with normal development, with infantile cerebral palsy (CP), with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and with delayed intellectual development (DID). We measured the adolescents’ performance on tests of conceptual abilities (the use of categories at different grades of generalization, the discovery of abstract meaning and implicit connections between concepts) and metacognitive abilities (attention selectivity, as measured by Mtinsterberg’s test and the understanding of hidden pictures, and attention organization, as measured by indices of cognitive styles). The results showed, first, that in comparison with normal adolescents, the adolescents with CP and ADHD had a deficit of metacognitive abilities, but they did not differ in rates of conceptual abilities. As for adolescents with DID, even though they had lower rates of conceptual abilities and attention selectivity, they did not differ from the “norm” group on some indices of attention organization. Second, a tendency for the disintegration of conceptual and metacognitive abilities (as measured by correlation and factor analysis) was most clearly seen in the adolescents with ADHD and DID. The adolescents with CP and ADHD had conceptual (categorial and generative) abilities as a mental resource, and the adolescents with DID had metacognitive abilities as a mental resource. The resource function of conceptual and metacognitive abilities was determined not only by their level but also by the extent of their interaction (integration).
Keywords: ndysontogenesis, infantile cerebral palsy, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, delayed intellectual development, conceptual abilities, metacognitive abilities, mental resource