Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. M. Michele Burnette

Second Advisor

Dr. Malcolm Robertson

Third Advisor

Dr. Richard Spates

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Lisa Baker


The validity of the California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT) has been established with most clinical neuropsychological populations; however, no published work in the area of CVLT performance in adults with learning disabilities (LD) exists, despite the authors' assertion that the test is a useful psychometric measure for this population (Delis, Kramer, Kaplan, & Ober, 1987). Likewise, the validity of a recently restandardized test of visual-figural learning, the Rey Visual Design Learning Test (RVDLT; Spreen & Strauss, 1991), has yet to be investigated in LD populations. Motor deficiencies have been associated with LD in children, but little evidence exists to extend these findings to LD adults. Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to investigate the validity and utility of the CVLT, RVDLT, and Purdue Pegboard in LD college students.

Twenty-two college students with confirmed learning disabilities of various subtypes and a control group of 22 students matched for age, sex, prorated intelligence, socioeconomic status, and educational level were*administered the CVLT, RVDLT, and Purdue Pegboard. Results indicated that the LD group displayed lower recall consistency (F = 15.01, p = .0004) and generated more intrusion errors (F = 9.02, P = .0045) on the CVLT than the control group. On the RVDLT the LD group reproduced fewer correct designs by the fifth learning trial (F = 6.92, p = .01) and after a 20 minute delay (F = 6.93, p = .01). The LD group also showed a trend towards Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. significantly more erroneous reproductions across trials (F = 5.54, £ = .02). Both groups were significantly but equally influenced by their speeded non-verbal visuoconstructional ability as measured by the Block Design subtest on the RVDLT (r = 395, £ = .008). The CVLT and RVDLT indices produced 32 of 252 (13%) significant intercorrelations. Purdue Pegboard dominant hand performance was sensitive to the presence of LD (F = 7.29, £ = -01), and non-dominant hand performance approached significance (F = 3.27, £ = .078). The CVLT and RVDLT appear to be sensitive measures of learning and memory style and ability in LD college students, and the Purdue Pegboard test appears to be sensitive to motor inefficiencies in LD college students.


Fifth Advisor: Dr. Ennis Berker

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Psychology Commons