Bebko (1984) reported that deaf children tend not to use spontaneously active memory strategies such as rehearsal in tasks requiring recall of ordered, temporal information. The present study investigated whether this tendency is task specific or generalized to other experimental paradigms. A central-incidental paradigm was used with profoundly deaf children and hearing children 6 to 13 years of age. The results for the hearing students replicated previous studies: central recall increased with age, but incidental recall changed little. For the deaf children, the results initially appeared very similar to those of the hearing children. However, on closer examination, the rehearsal strategies of the deaf students seemed less effective in mediating their recall. They apparently compensated for these difficulties by capitalizing on unique spatial features of the task, leading to recall levels comparable to those of the hearing students. Therefore, similar performance may not have been the result of equal strategy use but, rather, of the use of additional strategies by the deaf students.
This study reinforced the need to provide additional training for deaf students in the use of memory strategies such as rehearsal when information is to be remembered in a sequential manner.