Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Bernard M. Chirico

Second Advisor

Dr. James L. Tromater

Third Advisor

Dr. William E. Walker


Recent studies examining the performance of braininjured children (specifically, cerebral palsied children) reported improvement of perceptual-motor abilities on graphic tests with figure-ground reversals (Uhlin & Dickinson, 1970; May, 1978). A pilot study was done to ascertain whether this facilitative effect of color manipulation would be demonstrated with hyperactive children also classified as perceptually impaired. A significant difference in performance was found between the white background/black figure manipulation and the black background/white figure manipulation by age (5-10 year olds). Normal children did not demonstrate this facilitative effect. It was postulated that this effect would generalize to learning disabled children. In the present study, twenty-four children between the ages of 9 and 12 years served as subjects. Twelve children made up the control group of normals and twelve children, diagnosed as learning disabled, comprised the experimental group. A three factor Latin square design was utilized. WISC-R mazes were used to measure performance. It was hypothesized that learning disabled children would perform better when presented with a task on the black background and that there would be no difference in the performance of normal children on either background. Homogeneity of variance was not satisfied so subsequent results were viewed with caution. Two findings of significance were noted as hypothesized, normal Color Reversal 2 and learning disabled children did not exhibit performance differences on the black background. In addition, a significant difference between performance on the black background versus white background was found for both groups when the black background was presented on the second trial.

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