St. Petersburg State University,
St. Petersburg, Russia
Background. While various screening systems are used worldwide for early detection of developmental delay (DD), Russia still does not have such a screening system in place, even though a good prognosis for the cognitive development of a child with DD depend strongly on the time of the diagnosis.
Objective. The objective of this study was to create a system to rapidly monitor the mental development of four- to five-year-old Russian children, a system that allows for the use of modern information technologies to obtain reliable results.
Design. This study was carried out with a sample of 1,232 children. For data collection, the multifactor study of mental development tool was used as a part of a so ware complex for longitudinal research. This tool included a much more extensive set of tasks than in traditional tests of abilities, allowing for a wider variation of the factor structure. For the 4-year-olds, 236 tasks were used and 349 for the 5-year-olds. Factor and discriminant analysis were carried out to construct scales for each age group (6–7 points in each), which most accurately predict the diagnosis (Norm/DD). Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to verify the prediction model.
Results. Two scales were elaborated, which coincided with the type of variables combined in each of them regardless of age (for 4-years — simpler and for 5-years — more complex): logical reasoning, motor skills, and general awareness (listed in descending order of contribution to the prediction). SEM confirmed that the selected scales are indicators of the general ability factor, which is the main predictor of the diagnosis.
Conclusions. Two short scales for the rapid diagnosis of DD in preschool children were constructed, allowing the use of computer technology to timely identify the risk group among 4- and 5-year-olds with high sensitivity and specificity of the forecast (not lower than 95%).
Keywords: Screening, developmental delay, construction of scales, SEM
Background. Sound symbolism (SS) refers to the direct association between the sound and the meaning of a word. The results of cross-linguistic research prove that SS is universal for different languages and cultures. Thirty percent of all natural languages consist of SS words. But despite the large number of psychosemantic studies which have been conducted, the cognitive mechanisms of the perception of SS words still remain unclear.
Objective. The aim of this study was to determine how Russian-speaking subjects perceive visually presented English and Russian words, as measured by the Lexical decision method.
Design. The study sample consisted of 148 subjects of ages ranging from 13 to 78. The study was conducted in two stages. During the first stage, the perception of visually-presented English SS words by Russian learners of English, with three different levels of language proficiency, was studied. During the second stage, the perception of visually-presented Russian SS words by Russian native speakers from three different age groups was studied.
The stimuli material was selected according to the following criteria: 1) Each word was monosyllabic; 2) Each SS word corresponded to a single arbitrary (non-SS) word of the same pronunciation type; and 3) Each word corresponded to a non-word, formed from it by replacing letters according to the phonotactic rules of English and Russian. At each stage of the study, each subject was given 80 stimuli consisting of 20 SS words, 20 non-SS words, and 40 non-words. An analysis of contingency tables (Chi-square test), comparison of averages (Student's t-test), and analyses of variances (ANOVA) were applied to the data.
Results. The visually-presented SS words were identified more slowly and with more errors than the non-SS words, regardless of the language (Russian or English), the subjects’ age, and their English language proficiency.
Conclusions. The observed delay effect in the cognitive processing of visually-presentedSSwords is due to the cognitive complexity of the task, which leads to the activation of cross-modal interaction system, besides, interfering systems of information processing are assumed to exist.
Keywords: phonosemantics, psychosemantics, sound-iconicity, sound symbolism (SS), lexical decision task.