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Control of Lexical Inhibition in ASL and English-Reading Sentence Comprehension in Deaf and Hearing ASL Users

Goldberg, Emily and Pratt, Sheila and McNeil, Malcolm (2017) Control of Lexical Inhibition in ASL and English-Reading Sentence Comprehension in Deaf and Hearing ASL Users. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Background: Language experiences of Deaf individuals are variable and impact cognitive-linguistic functioning. Deaf individuals in the U.S. who use American Sign Language (ASL) as their primary communication method must learn to read and write in English; however they typically exhibit difficulty in doing so due to many factors. Cognitive-linguistic functions, such as inhibition and other executive attentional mechanisms, play a key role in literacy acquisition. One task that measures inhibitory functions is the Stroop task. The Stroop effect has been studied in the Deaf ASL population, however results were inconclusive and studies have focused on the single-word level only.

Procedures: This study included 15 hearing non-proficient (HNP), 15 hearing proficient (HP), and 15 Deaf proficient (DP) ASL users. The participants completed an ASL single-word Stroop task, the ASL and English Reading Word Fade versions of the sentence-length Computerized Revised Token Test (CRTT), and the ASL and English Reading Word Fade Stroop versions of the CRTT.

Results: No groups demonstrated a reliable Stroop effect for the single-word ASL task, but 10 participants from the DP group did show a Stroop effect on this task. The DP group was the only group to demonstrate a color word Stroop effect on the CRTT ASL Reading Word Fade Stroop task. All groups demonstrated a significant Stroop effect for the English Reading Word Fade Stroop task. The DP group demonstrated larger interference in English than the hearing groups, and produced lower Mean-CRTT scores across both languages. Language proficiency did not predict a Stroop effect for any group for either language, however, individuals that were more language proficient were faster to respond to the sentence-level stimuli than the less proficient.

Conclusions: The DP group demonstrated lexical processing in both ASL and English at the sentence level, evidenced by observable Stroop effects, however the magnitude of the effects suggest reduced inhibitory control or slow lexical activation observed in the bilingual (ASL-English) population. At the single-word level, individual participant factors influenced the presence of a Stroop effect. The DP group was slower to read words in all tasks across both languages, suggesting requirement for additional processing time.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Goldberg, Emilyebg9@pitt.eduebg9
Pratt, Sheilaspratt@pitt.eduspratt
McNeil, Malcolmmcneil@pitt.edumcneil
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairPratt, Sheilaspratt@pitt.eduspratt
Date: 24 July 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 26 April 2017
Approval Date: 24 July 2017
Submission Date: 24 May 2017
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 123
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Communication Science and Disorders
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: American Sign Language, Stroop, Lexical, Deaf, Executive Function
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2017 20:02
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2017 20:02


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