Title page for ETD etd-05262004-132931

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Zaki, Hossam M.
Author's Email Address hzaki@vt.edu
URN etd-05262004-132931
Title Language as a Mediator between Home Environment and Prefrontal Functioning In Early Childhood
Degree Master of Science
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bell, Martha Ann Committee Chair
Abraham, Jane L. Committee Member
Cooper, Robin K. Panneton Committee Member
  • home environment
  • children
  • working memory
  • language
Date of Defense 2004-04-30
Availability unrestricted
The purpose of the current study was to examine the mediating role of language in explaining the relation between home environment and prefrontal functioning. Participants were 30 children from two preschool centers (Virginia Tech Lab School and Radford Head Start Center) representing a wide range of socio-economic status. Children’s working memory was assessed through performing two verbal tasks, namely the Day/Night task and the Yes/No task and a non-verbal task, the Tapping task. Language, in turn, was assessed through the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT-III). The criteria proposed by Baron and Kenny (1986) were followed to test for the mediational hypothesis, as well as an alternative hypothesis stating that working memory might mediate the relation between home environment and language. Results indicated that language did mediate the relation between home environment and prefrontal functioning, particularly working memory. The alternative hypothesis did not prove to be successful. Theoretical and educational implications of these findings are discussed.
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