This word association study compared the primary associates given by deaf college students with those from a set of hearing norms. Forty common words were selected from the norms; twenty category names for which the primary associate was an exemplar (or member of that category) and twenty exemplars for which the primary associate was the category name. Overall, deaf students showed a similar pattern of responses to the hearing norms, although the strength of the primary associates for the deaf students was not as strong as for the hearing students. Comparing responses to the two groups of stimuli, hearing students were far more consistent going from category names to exemplars than the deaf students, while there was no significant difference between the two groups going from exemplars to category names. Relations between reading scores and patterns of responding were analyzed, and higher scores were found to be associated with a greater consistency with the hearing norms.
Department, Program, or Center
Master of Science of Secondary Education of Students Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (NTID)
Convertino, Carol, "Words and their primary associates: a comparison of deaf and hearing students" (2005). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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