Minskoff (1980 a, b)

CRITIQUE OF UNSUPPORTED PROCEDURAL DESCRIPTIONS

Sources:  

1.  Minskoff, E. H. (1980a). Teaching approach for developing nonverbal communication skills in students with social perceptual skills. Part I. The basic approaches and body language clues. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 13, 118-124.

2.  Minskoff, E. H. (1980b). Teaching approach for developing nonverbal communication skills in students with social perceptual skills. Part II. Proxemic, vocalic, and artifactual cues. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 13, 203-208.

NOTE:  Two sources are reviewed here because Minskoff (1980a) provides the rationale for the intervention described in Minskoff (1980b). In addition, the author describes several interventions: kinesics (body language), proxemics, vocalic, and artifactual. Only intervention associated with prosodic aspects of vocalic are reviewed here.

 

Reviewer:  pmh

 

Date:  6.30.13

 

Overall Assigned Grade (because there are no supporting data, the highest grade will be F):  F-

 

Level of Evidence:  F = Expert Opinion, no supporting evidence for the effectiveness of the intervention although the author may provide secondary evidence supporting components of the intervention.

 

Take Away:  This description of a logical strategy for introducing prosody to school-aged children is intriguing. It is clearly written and logically ordered. However, it awaits verification.

 

1.  Was there a review of the literature supporting components of the intervention?  Narrative Review 

 

2.  Were the specific procedures/components of the intervention tied to the reviewed literature?  No

 

3.  Was the intervention based on clinically sound clinical procedures?  Yes

4.  Did the author provide a rationale for components of the intervention?  Yes. The author defined the 4 components of the program. For the vocalic component, she further described prosodic, paralinguistic, and nonlinguistic features. She defined prosody as using a number of elements pitch, loudness, and tempo, although she did not define these terms. Minskoff also described her reason for the procedures associated with teaching children with social perception problems.

5.  Outcome measures:

•  Outcome #1:  To discriminate pairs of prosodic stimuli

•  Outcome #2:  To match attitude/emotional labels with selected aspects of prosody

•  Outcome #3:  To produce utterances using prosody to signal different attitudes/emotions

•  Outcome #4:  To use prosodic cues appropriate to conversational contexts

 

6.  Was generalization addressed?  Yes. The intervention progresses to the use of prosody in conversational speech. Therefore, it is concerned with generalization.

 

7.  Was maintenance addressed?  No

 

SUMMARY OF INTERVENTION

 

Description of Intervention:  Prosodic Intervention for Social Perception Deficits  [Note:  The intervention focuses on 4 components kinesics, proxemics, vocalic, and artifactual.  Prosody is part of the vocalic component.]

 

TARGETS/OUTCOMES:

•  Outcome #1:  To discriminate pairs of prosodic stimuli

•  Outcome #2:  To match attitude/emotional labels with selected aspects of prosody

•  Outcome #3:  To produce/comprehend utterances using prosody to signal different attitudes/emotions

•  Outcome #4:  To use prosodic cues appropriate to conversational contexts

POPULATION:  school-aged children with social perception challenges

TECHNIQUES:  selective attention, descriptions and explanations (metalinguistics), guided problem solving, imitation, role playing, directed viewing of movies

STIMULI:  auditory, visual

DOSAGE:  not provided

 

ADMINISTRATOR:  classroom teacher

PROCEDURES:

•  Outcome #1:  To discriminate pairs of prosodic stimuli

1.  C teaches P to differentiate different patterns within each of the different elements (e.g., rate, pitch, loudness, pause) of prosody.  For example, C may present fast and slow speaking rates.

  –  Each element is presented separately and then C assesses P’s ability to discriminate the targeted contrast before moving to the next element.

  –  Initially, C presents stimuli live.  As P progresses, the stimuli change to C’s recorded speech and the recorded speech of others.

 2.   C presents pairs of speech stimuli representing possible differences in one element of prosody. P is to discriminate whether C is presenting 2 monologues that are the same or different.  For example,

     •  rate:  C presents 2 brief monologues: (a) both monologues are produced with the same speaking rate or (b) one monologue is produced with one  at 1 word per second and the other monologue is presented with 6 words per second.

     •  pause:  C presents  brief monologues: (a) both monologue are produced with pauses only at the ends of utterances or (b) one monologue contains on pauses at the ends of utterances and the other pauses presented randomly throughout the monologue.

  C provides cues to assist P in discriminating the prosodic patterns.  For example:

     •  rate:  C uses a stopwatch to time the utterance and then C and P count the number of words

     •  pauses:  C and P count the number of pauses in an utterance

3.  C encourages (but does not require) P to imitate the targeted prosodic element.

4.  C randomly varies from same or different (not the same) to assess P’s ability to discriminate the targeted prosodic element.

 

•  Outcome #2:  To match attitude/emotional labels with selected aspects of prosody

•  Each pairing of a prosodic pattern with a prosodic pattern is taught individually although there will be multiple examples of each pairing using different utterances.

1.  C produces examples of utterances paired with the appropriate prosody representing an emotional state (e.g., happy, sad, angry).

2.  C describes contexts in which the prosodic patterns representing the emotional state would be appropriate.

3.  Following the C’s presentation of a emotional meaning/prosodic pairing, C assesses P’s understanding of the relationship by

  –  producing the prosodic pattern representing the taught emotional meaning (e.g., happy) using a neutral utterance (e.g., The carnival will be here tomorrow).

  –  asking P to judge whether or not the pairing was appropriate (e.g., “Did I sound angry?”  or  “Did I sound happy?)

 

•  Outcome #3:  To produce utterances using prosody to signal different attitudes/emotions

•  Each pairing of a prosodic pattern with an emotion is taught individually although there will be multiple examples of each pairing using different utterances.

1.  C produces examples of utterances paired with the appropriate prosody representing an emotional state (e.g., happy, sad, surprised, angry).

2.  C describes contexts in which the prosodic patterns representing the emotional state would be appropriate.

3.  C invites P to imitate the utterance and the prosodic pattern. C provides feedback to P regarding the quality of the imitation. C limits the number of attempts for a specific sentence to 3 to avoid frustration.  (NOTE:  this step was not in the paper.  PMH added it because the next step and Outcome #4 were concerned with production.)

4.  Following the C’s presentation of Steps #1-3, C assesses P’s ability to pair emotional states and prosodic patterns by

  –  producing the prosodic pattern representing the taught emotional meaning (e.g., happy) in a neutral utterance (e.g., I see the dog) and asking P to identify the emotional state.

  –  producing a neutral utterance (e.g., “The bird is here”) and a neutral prosodic pattern and asking P to say it using the taught emotional meaning/ prosodic pattern (e. g., surprised)

•  Outcome #4:  To use prosodic cues appropriate to conversational contexts

1.  C initiates a role-playing task or presents a movie.

2.  C directs P to identify the cause of a prosody-related communication problem (e.g., someone misinterpreting quiet, calm speech as anger) presented in Step 1 by analyzing 4 aspects of the context:

  a.  the people involved

  b.  the setting

  c.  the conversational topic

  d.  the purpose of the conversation

3.  C discusses with P potential problems for using inappropriate prosody (e.g., speaking too loudly around a sleeping baby)

4.  C notes the concept of mismatches between the utterance and prosody (e.g., a student sarcastically saying ‘I like your shoes’) and teaches P to rely more on the prosody (Mehrabian, 1972)

RATIONALE/SUPPORT FOR INTERVENTION (e.g., Logical, Developmental, Compensatory, etc.):  The steps in this intervention are logically ordered.  First, the clinician directs the child’s attention to specific prosodic cues by isolating and emphasizing them and then guides the child in discriminating the targeted prosodic elements. Second, the clinician guides the student in establishing a link between the prosodic element and meaning. Third, the clinician teaches the student to identify and produce prosodic patterns that are appropriate to selected affective states.  Fourth, the clinician assists the student in applying the prosodic patterns to natural communication contexts.

CITATION:

Mehrabian, A. (1972). Nonverbal communication. Chicage: Aldine-Atherton.

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