Institute of Learning Styles Research

Dissertation Abstracts

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Abstract Title

Ferry-Ettel, D. L. (2000). An analysis of young adults with attention deficit disorder on stimulant medication and their perceptual styles as measured by the Multi-Modal Paired Associates Learning Test III (Doctoral dissertation, University of South Florida, 2000). Dissertation Abstracts International, 61(04A), 1252.


The purpose of this study was to investigate differences in learning styles between young adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) who take stimulant medication and those who do not, as measured by the Multi-Modal Paired Associates Learning Test-III (MMPALT-III), for application with the special population with young adults with Attention Deficit Disorder. The secondary purpose was to determine content validity from an expert panel regarding the safety and appropriateness of this instrument for use with the special population of participants afflicted with this disorder. The MMPALT-III is a performance-based learning style instrument identifying individuals' abilities to acquire information through seven sensory modalities: Print, Aural, Interactive, Visual, Haptic, Kinesthetic, and Olfactory. In addition a claim was established for content validity by an expert panel review process. Relationships were examined by comparing ADD individuals off medication (ADD/OFF, n = 20) and on medication (ADD/ON, n = 21) to a group of non-ADD individuals (NON/ADD, n = 21). A Multi-Variate Analysis of Variance indicated that the Attention Deficit Disorder group on stimulant medication at the time of testing outperformed participants with ADD not on stimulant medication at testing time. Additionally, performance of the ADD/ON stimulant medication group was similar to that of the comparison group (NON/ADD). Significant subtest rank-order differences existed for the ADD/OFF medication with rank-order for subtests: Aural, Visual, Kinesthetic, Print, Haptic, Interactive, and Olfactory. The subtest rank order for the ADD/ON medication was: Print, Visual, Kinesthetic, Print, Interactive, Haptic, Interactive, and Olfactory. Individuals with ADD on stimulant medication outperformed those not on stimulant medication and similar to those without the ADD diagnosis. This implies that stimulant medication plays a major role in individuals' ability to focus and learn. Medication should be taken as directed and especially when attempting to process and learn new information. Teachers should utilize different instructional approaches, particularly active learning. Recommendations for future research include utilizing the same participants for testing both on and off stimulant medication.

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