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An investigation of the effect of operational level and locus of causal context on the recall of main… Webster, Janet Barbara 1978

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AN INVESTIGATION OF THE EFFECT OF OPERATIONAL LEVEL AND LOCUS OF CAUSAL CONTEXT ON THE RECALL OF MAIN IDEAS by JANET BARBARA WEBSTER B.Ed., U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1974 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Education) We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the re q u i r e d standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA November, 1978 cN Janet Barbara Webster, 1978 In presenting th i s thes is in pa r t i a l fu l f i lment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the Univers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L ibrary sha l l make it f ree ly ava i lab le for reference and study. I fur ther agree that permission for extensive copying of th is thesis for scho la r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representat ives . It is understood that copying or pub l i ca t ion of th is thes is fo r f inanc ia l gain sha l l not be allowed without my writ ten permission. Department of Education The Univers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia 2075 Wesbrook P l a c e Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 Date October 11, 1978 i i Abstract This study was an i n v e s t i g a t i o n of the influence of opera-t i o n a l l e v e l and locus of causal context on the r e c a l l of main ideas i n a story. The subjects were 40 kindergarten c h i l d r e n . The c h i l d r e n were administered a seri e s of Piagetian tasks -s e r i a t i o n , c l a s s i f i c a t i o n , and conservation - and assigned to the preoperational l e v e l or the concrete operational l e v e l . Subse-quently, the children l i s t e n e d to a story. One version of the .. story had the locus of causal context, (a statement of the cause-e f f e c t r e l a t i o n s h i p which p r e c i p i t a t e d the events), p r i o r to the events, and the second version had the locus of causal context a f t e r the events. The children's r e c a l l s of the story were tape-recorded. Two ways of e l i c i t i n g responses were used; stimulated r e c a l l , or very general prompting, and probed r e c a l l or d i r e c t questioning. The protocols were scored according to the number of idea u n i t s , either stimulated or probed, that were r e c a l l e d . Two dependent v a r i a b l e s , quantity and q u a l i t y , were analyzed by a f i x e d e f f e c t s , analysis of variance. Quantity r e f e r r e d to the number of main ideas r e c a l l e d and qu a l i t y to the proportion of main ideas r e c a l l e d . The design was unbalanced, therefore, an a p r i o r i ordering was used. The organismic v a r i a b l e , operational l e v e l , was entered f i r s t , followed by locus of causal context. The r e s u l t s revealed a s i g n i f i c a n t e f f e c t of operational l e v e l on quantity of r e c a l l of main ideas. A subsequent subanalysis revealed that most of the v a r i a b i l i t y was accounted f or by stimulated r e c a l l . The e f f e c t of the locus of causal context on number of i i i main ideas r e c a l l e d was not s i g n i f i c a n t . Neither operational l e v e l nor locus of causal context had an e f f e c t on the d i f f e -r e n t i a l r e c a l l of main ideas. It was concluded that future research on the memory of young ch i l d r e n f o r s t o r i e s should take operational l e v e l into account. The effectiveness of stimulated, as opposed to spontaneous r e c a l l , was also discussed. i v TABLE OF CONTENTS Page Chapter 1. Introduction 1 Statement of Problem 1 Context of Problem' 2 i ) R e c a l l of main ideas i n a story 3 i i ) Locus of causal context and r e c a l l of main ideas 3 i i i ) Cognitive l e v e l and r e c a l l of main ideas . . . 5 Summary of the Problem 5 J u s t i f i c a t i o n of the Study 6 Organization of the Study 6 D e f i n i t i o n of the Variables 7 I. Terms associated with cognitive maturity . . . 7 i ) Operational l e v e l 7 i i ) Preoperational l e v e l 8 i i i ) Concrete operational l e v e l 8 I I . Terms associated with story r e c a l l 9 i ) Story 9 i i ) Main ideas 9 i i i ) Locus of causal context 10 Summary of Chapter 1 10 V Chapter 2. A Review of the L i t e r a t u r e 12 I. The Influence of Cognitive Development on Story R e c a l l i ) Syncretism ^ i i ) Juxtaposition 15 i i i ) Transductive Reasoning 15 iv) The consequences of egocentrism 15 v) The r e l a t i o n s h i p between egocentrism and operational l e v e l 16 v i ) A formal statement of the f i r s t hypothesis I I . The Influence of Locus of Causal Context on Story R e c a l l 17 i ) The r e l a t i o n s h i p between p r i o r knowledge and context 18 i i ) A consideration of causal context as p r i o r knowledge 21 i i i ) A formal statement of the second hypothesis 22 I I I . The Interactive Influence of C o g n i t i v e l Level and Locus of Causal Context on Story R e c a l l . . . . 22 i ) The u t i l i z a t i o n of information provided by causal context 22 i i ) Reorganization of Ideas i n Memory 24 i i i ) A formal statement of the t h i r d hypothesis 24 IV. Q u a l i t a t i v e Differences i n Story Recall 25 Summary of the Six Hypotheses 27 v i Chapter 3. Design of the Study 28 Method 28 Subjects 28 Design 28 Procedure 29 I. Piagetian Assessment 29 Task Descriptions 30 A. S e r i a t i o n 30 B. C l a s s i f i c a t i o n 31 C. Conservation 33 Scoring 34 Assignment to Operational Level . . 35 I I . Story R e c a l l 38 Method 40 i ) Stimulated Recall 40 i i ) Probed R e c a l l 40 Scoring of the Story Recall Protocols 41 i ) Idea Units 41 i i ) Main Idea Units 41 i i i ) Assignment of Scores 41 iv) R e l i a b i l i t y of the Scoring 42 v) Kinds of Scores 42 a) Quantity 42 b) Quality 43 The Analysis of the Data 43 Summary 44 v i i Chapter 4. Results 45 I. Quantity of Recall 45 i ) R e c a l l of Main Ideas 45 Subanalysis 46 i ) Stimulated Recall of Main Ideas 46 i i ) Probed R e c a l l of Main Ideas 48 I I . Quality of R e c a l l 48 Summary 50 Chapter 5. Discussion and Conclusions 51 Limitations of the Study 51 Discussion of the Results . . . 52 I. Operational Level 52 i ) Quantity of R e c a l l 52 i i ) Quality of R e c a l l 53 I I . Locus of Causal Context 53 Implications 54 Notes 56 References 57 Appendix 60 v i i i LIST OF TABLES Table Page 1 F i n a l Sample C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s 37 2 C e l l Means and Standard Deviations for Recall of Main Ideas by Operational Level and Locus of Causal Context 45 3 Analysis of Variance Summary Table for T o t a l R e c a l l of Main Ideas 46 4 C e l l Means and Standard Deviations for Stimulated Recall of Main Ideas by Operational Level and Locus of Causal Context 47 5 Analysis of Variance Summary Table for Simulated Recall of Main Ideas 47 6 Means and Standard Deviations f o r Proportion of Main Ideas Recalled (Transformed Scores) by Operational Level and Locus of Causal Context . . . 48 7 Means and Standard Deviations for Proportion of Stimulated Main Ideas Recalled (Transformed Scores) by Operational Level and Locus of Causal Context 49 8 Means and Standard Deviations for Proportion of Probed Main Ideas Recalled (Transformed Scores) by Operational Level and Locus of Causal Context. . 50 i x LIST OF FIGURES Page Figure 1. Story 38 X ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The wri t e r expresses her appreciation to her advisor, Dr. Marshall A r l i n , who knows how to do things. Appreciation i s also extended to Dr. P a t r i c i a A r l i n , p a r t i c u l a r l y for advice and t r a i n i n g i n the Piagetian assessment procedures. The author would also l i k e to thank Dr. Todd Rogers for c a r e f u l reading and for r a i s i n g some thought-provoking questions. CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The study of memory, both what we remember and how we remember, has long been of i n t e r e s t to psychologists (James, 1890). One productive area of research has involved memory for verbal material. Much of th i s work has investigated memory processes using l i s t s of words as a less complicated way of studying complex phenomena. However, during the present decade there has been renewed i n t e r e s t i n the study of memory of connected prose. One form of connected prose, the narrative form, has attracted much research attention. Statement of the Problem Although remembering, or not remembering, information which i s presented o r a l l y i s a facet of most people's d a i l y experience, t h i s study addressed the problem of the memory of ch i l d r e n f o r narr a t i v e prose. Stories presented i n prose n a r r a t i v e form are the basic content of primary reading and language arts programs. Children are asked to read, to l i s t e n to, and to remember i n f o r -mation presented i n prose form. The amount of t h i s material i s such that to attempt to r e t a i n a l l of i t would place an i n t o l e r a b l e burden on the c h i l d ' s memory. It i s neither desirable nor necessary that the c h i l d r e t a i n everything he reads or hears. As some kinds of information and ideas are more important than others i t i s 1 2 d e s i r a b l e , that these s i g n i f i c a n t ideas be s e l e c t e d and remembered. The problem addressed i n t h i s study then was whether c h i l d r e n i n kind e r g a r t e n are capable of e x t r a c t i n g and remembering important ideas when they l i s t e n to a s t o r y . Of s p e c i f i c i n t e r e s t was the question of whether they r e c a l l more of the s i g n i f i c a n t as opposed to the i n s i g n i f i c a n t ideas. The e f f e c t of two v a r i a b l e s , c o g n i t i v e m a t u r i t y and locus of caus a l context, on r e c a l l of these important, or main, ideas was examined. For the purpose of t h i s study c o g n i t i v e maturity was defined w i t h i n a P i a g e t i a n framework. Locus of causal context was defined as placement of the cause-effect r e l a t i o n s h i p which p r e c i p i t a t e d the events of the s t o r y e i t h e r p r i o r to the events ( i . e . at the beginning of the s t o r y ) , or a f t e r the events ( i . e . at the c o n c l u s i o n of the s t o r y ) . Context of the Problem I t i s appropriate at t h i s point to examine s p e c i f i c aspects of t h i s problem i n greater d e t a i l . This study was concerned w i t h the e f f e c t of c o g n i t i v e maturity and locus of caus a l context on the r e c a l l of the main ideas i n a s t o r y by kindergarten c h i l d r e n . Therefore, an examination of the controversy surrounding the r e c a l l of main ideas by young c h i l d r e n , was p a r t i c u l a r l y germane. A s i m i l a r controversy a l s o e x i s t s i n the l i t e r a t u r e regarding the e f f e c t of the manipulation of c e r t a i n s t r u c t u r a l features on r e c a l l . This was examined because causal context was t r e a t e d as a s t r u c t u r a l f e a t u r e . F i n a l l y , the appropriateness of c o g n i t i v e l e v e l as a p o s s i b l e source of i n f l u e n c e on the s e l e c t i o n and r e c a l l of the main ideas i n a s t o r y was i n v e s t i g a t e d . 3 i ) R e c a l l of main ideas i n a story. There i s a c o n f l i c t i n the l i t e r a t u r e concerning the extent to which young children r e c a l l the main idea or g i s t of narrative prose. Piaget (1926, 1928) argued that young children before the age of 7-8 years think e g o c e n t r i c a l l y . Therefore, a c h i l d does not abstract the information which i s l o g i c a l l y necessary f o r the understanding of a story, but w i l l attend, i d i o s y n c r a t i c a l l y , to unimportant d e t a i l s . A contrary p o s i t i o n has been maintained by Brown and Smiley (1977), C h r i s t i e and Schumacher (1975), and Korman (1945). They have presented evidence which indicated that even young children have the a b i l i t y to spontaneously reproduce ideas which are e s s e n t i a l ( i . e . main ideas), to a general understanding of a story. This c o n f l i c t surrounding the c h i l d ' s a b i l i t y to extract those ideas which are central to the theme of a story i s p a r t i c u -l a r l y i n t e r e s t i n g i n l i g h t of the requirements of the current reading curriculum. The a t t e n t i o n directed towards teaching c h i l d r e n how to d i f f e r e n t i a t e between ideas which are c e n t r a l to the main thrust of a story and ideas which are merely peripheral would seem to support Piaget's contention that t h i s i s a sophisticated s k i l l . i i ) Locus of causal context and r e c a l l of main ideas. One possible source of these c o n f l i c t i n g r e s u l t s i s the influence of s t r u c t u r a l features on story r e c a l l . I n i t i a l l y , much of the work on the manipulation of s t r u c t u r a l features was done with adult subjects (Dooling and Lachman, 1971; Dooling and Mullet, 1973; Mandler and Johnson, 1977; Meyer, 1975; Thorndyke, 1977). Recently 4 (Glenn, 1977; Stein, 1978) the influence of structure on the r e c a l l of young c h i l d r e n has been investigated. Evidence accumulated so f a r indicates that structure can have a pronounced influence on r e c a l l ; well-organized s t o r i e s are r e c a l l e d better than poorly organized s t o r i e s (Stein, 1978). Although both adults and c h i l d r e n are s e n s i t i v e to structure, there are developmental differences with respect to memory for d i f f e r e n t s t r u c t u r a l features (Mandler and Johnson, 1977). It w i l l be argued l a t e r i n the section dealing with d e f i n i t i o n s that causal context i s a s t r u c t u r a l feature of a story. To the extent that causal context i s a summary of the story i t functions i n much the same manner as a statement of the theme, or a t i t l e . Therefore, manipulation of the locus of causal context i s a possible source of influence on story r e c a l l . A c o n f l i c t e x i s t s i n the l i t e r a t u r e regarding the locus of thematic e f f e c t . Dooling and Mullet (1973) presented evidence which indicated that p r o v i s i o n of a thematic t i t l e p r i o r to reading a metaphorical passage influenced r e c a l l p o s i t i v e l y , whereas the presentation of the t i t l e a f t e r reading, or no t i t l e at a l l , did not enhance r e c a l l . The r e s u l t s of a study by Thorndyke (1977) challenged the r e s u l t s of Dooling and Mullet (1973). Thorndyke demonstrated that the presentation of theme-before and theme-after were both better than no theme at a l l . The existence of these discrepant r e s u l t s which are discussed i n Chapter 2, makes an examination of locus of causal context worthwhile. I t i s also noteworthy that the two studies j u s t c i t e d above were conducted with adult subjects. The present study was an attempt to extend the work on the e f f e c t of the manipulation of a s t r u c t u r a l feature 5 (in t h i s case causal context) to c h i l d r e n . i i i ) Cognitive l e v e l and r e c a l l of main ideas. Age has been a v a r i a b l e of i n t e r e s t i n several studies concerning memory for s t o r i e s (Brown and Smiley, 1977; C h r i s t i e and Schumacher, 1975; Paris and Upton, 1976), and developmental differences due to age have been noted. That changes i n children's memory would occur with an increase i n age appears s e l f - e v i d e n t . Of greater i n t e r e s t to t h i s i n v e s t i g a t o r , i s the p o s s i b i l i t y of the existence of q u a l i t a t i v e differences which are not age-related. S p e c i f i c a l l y , i t seems f e a s i b l e that cognitive maturity might influence the r e c a l l of::stories. Several studies have investigated the influence of cognitive l e v e l , within a Piagetian framework, with reference to more general aspects of r e c a l l . ( A r l i n and A r l i n , Note 1; Piaget, Inhelder and Others, 1973). Also, cognitive l e v e l , assessed by Piagetian tasks, has been used as a blocking v a r i a b l e to investigate the e f f e c t on r e c a l l of a story ( A r l i n and A r l i n , Note 2). In these studies operational l e v e l s i g n i f i c a n t l y affected r e c a l l . Therefore, i t seemed appropriate to investigate children's r e c a l l of narrative prose with reference to both cognitive l e v e l , using a Piagetian framework, and the locus of causal context. Summary of the Problem In summary, the problem c e n t r a l to t h i s study was the nature of the e f f e c t s of cognitive l e v e l and locus of causal context on the r e c a l l of the main ideas i n a story by kindergarten c h i l d r e n . Two c o n f l i c t s ".were discussed: ( i ) the c o n f l i c t regarding the 6 a b i l i t y of ch i l d r e n to se l e c t and remember main ideas, and ( i i ) the c o n f l i c t regarding the locus of thematic e f f e c t . The appro-priateness of Piagetian cognitive l e v e l as a v a r i a b l e of i n t e r e s t i n a study concerning r e c a l l of main ideas was also discussed. The purpose of the study was to test hypotheses regarding both quantitative and q u a l i t a t i v e differences i n r e c a l l of main ideas. J u s t i f i c a t i o n of the Study A study of t h i s nature can be j u s t i f i e d on both t h e o r e t i c a l and p r a c t i c a l grounds. Of t h e o r e t i c a l i n t e r e s t i s a d e l i n e a t i o n of the variables which influence r e c a l l . The p a r t i c u l a r c o n t r i -bution of t h i s study was the attempt to extend previous work by i n v e s t i g a t i n g ( i ) the e f f e c t of cognitive developmental l e v e l , ( i i ) the e f f e c t of locus of causal context, and ( i i i ) the i n t e r -a ction of locus of causal context with cognitive l e v e l , on the r e c a l l of the main ideas of a story by kindergarten c h i l d r e n . A p r a c t i c a l defense of a study of t h i s nature may be found i n the ubiquitous use of the narrative form generally. The attention of children i n school i s often directed to s e l e c t i n g the main ideas of the s t o r i e s which they l i s t e n to or read. The importance of the s k i l l of s e l e c t i n g and remembering main ideas i s such that an attempt, however . r e s t r i c t e d , to investigate the v a r i a b l e s which influence t h i s s k i l l , seems worthwhile. Organization of the Study This thesis i s divided into f i v e chapters. The remainder of t h i s introductory chapter i s devoted to general d e f i n i t i o n s of 7 the v a r i a b l e s of i n t e r e s t . Chapter 2 deals p r i m a r i l y with a review of the pertinent l i t e r a t u r e and culminates with the presentation of s i x hypotheses. Chapter 3 contains a descrip-t i o n of the methodology. The r e s u l t s are presented i n Chapter 4. Chapter 5 contains the discussion and the conclusions. D e f i n i t i o n of the Variables It i s appropriate at t h i s point to define the terms asso-ciated with the v a r i a b l e s of i n t e r e s t . There were two independent v a r i a b l e s , cognitive maturity and locus of causal context, and two dependent v a r i a b l e s , quantity and q u a l i t y of r e c a l l of main ideas. Quantity r e f e r s to the number of main ideas r e c a l l e d while q u a l i t y i s used to denote the proportion of main ideas r e c a l l e d . (Cognitive maturity was regarded i n a Piagetian frame-work, therefore, cognitive maturity and operational l e v e l are synonymous.) This section on d e f i n i t i o n s i s divided into two parts. The f i r s t part deals with d e f i n i t i o n s pertaining to operational l e v e l , namely, ( i ) operational l e v e l , ( i i ) preoperational l e v e l , and ( i i i ) concrete operational l e v e l . Part II deals with terms asso-ciated with the r e c a l l of a story, namely, ( i ) story, ( i i ) main ideas, and ( i i i ) locus of causal context. I. Terms Associated with Cognitive Maturity i ) Operational l e v e l . Operational l e v e l r e f e r s to i n t e l -l e c t u a l functioning as defined by Piaget. In Piaget's develop-mental analysis of i n t e l l i g e n c e , progress from infancy to adult-8 hood i s characterized by movement through four major stages: sensorimotor ( b i r t h to 18 months; preoperational (onset of speech to 7 or 8 years); concrete operational (7-12 years); and formal operational (12 years and above) (Piaget, 1974). As this'study was 'limited to kindergarten c h i l d r e n , the stages of s p e c i f i c i n t e r e s t were the preoperational stage and the concrete opera-t i o n a l stage. i i ) Preoperational l e v e l . The infant's gradual ordering of h i s world during the sensorimotor period establishes and modifies schemes of behaviour. The preoperational c h i l d , with t h i s r e p e r t o i r e of behavioural patterns, develops the a b i l i t y to u t i l i z e symbolic functions. During t h i s period the a b i l i t y to use a mental symbol for an object or an event, language, acce-le r a t e s (Elkind, 1967). Preoperational thought i s characterized by i t s attention to states, and i t s lack of r e v e r s i b i l i t y (Inhelder and Piaget, 1964; Inhelder, 1962). i i i ) Concrete operational l e v e l . The concrete operational thinker, i n contrast to the preoperational child,- i s able to disregard p o t e n t i a l l y misleading perceptual information and to deal with such abstract concepts as class i n c l u s i o n and conser-vation of number, substance, weight and volume ( F l a v e l l , 1963). Concrete operational children can d i s t i n g u i s h between "appearance" and " r e a l i t y " (McV. Hunt, 1961). Concrete, or manipulative, materials are s t i l l necessary (Piaget, 1972) but the c h i l d r e l i e s l e s s on the perceptual saliency of the objects and more on the 9 mental a c t i v i t y of r e v e r s i b i l i t y (Inhelder, 1962). There are three forms of r e v e r s i b i l i t y - negation or inversion, r e c i p r o -c i t y , and i d e n t i t y - which are postulated by Piaget as forming the basis of the a b i l i t y to conserve. I t has been argued that the c h i l d bases h i s argument of constancy on negation or inve r s i o n (a return to the o r i g i n a l form would make them the same); r e c i p -r o c i t y (he i s able to see that height can compensate f o r width); or i d e n t i t y (that nothing has been added or taken away) (Inhelder, S i n c l a i r , and Bovet, 1974). These forms of r e v e r s i b i l i t y serve to d i s t i n g u i s h the concrete operational thinker (Inhelder, 1962). I I . Terms associated with story r e c a l l i ) Story. A story, or narrative prose, i s a p a r t i c u l a r form of connected discourse. Stories conform to an organizational structure which emphasizes p l o t . Usually, a protagonist i s involved i n a series of incidents or events (Mandler and Johnson, 1977). The events generally a r i s e as a r e s u l t of the main character's attempts to solve a problem (Thorndyke, 1977). Most t r a d i t i o n a l s t o r i e s conclude with a re s o l u t i o n to the problem. i i ) Main ideas. B a r t l e t t (1932) presented a view of memory for prose which was contrary to the trace theory which was then i n vogue. He argued that r e c a l l was seldom verbatim, and that subjects t y p i c a l l y extracted the essence or the " g i s t " of a story and used these ideas i n active reconstruction. I t i s the main ideas, the ideas c e n t r a l to the theme of a story, rather than the d e t a i l s , which provide the substance for t h i s active reconstruction. 10 Other writers have characterized these c e n t r a l ideas as themati-c a l l y relevant ( C h r i s t i e and Schumacher, 1975), or high i n the organization of the content of the passage (Meyer, 1975). One further d i s t i n c t i o n that can be made i s that main ideas are those ideas which are l o g i c a l l y e s s e n t i a l to the story. Therefore, they are to be discriminated from the d e t a i l s of a story which are not e s s e n t i a l f or coherence. i i i ) Locus of causal context. Causal context i s provided by a statement of the cause-effect r e l a t i o n s h i p which p r e c i p i t a t e s the action of a story. The statement deals with an event, and the consequences of the event, both of which are s i g n i f i c a n t to the subsequent action or p l o t . In e f f e c t the statement of the cause-effect r e l a t i o n s h i p functions to introduce subsequent action and to provide a context i n which the action takes place. Causal context, although not synonymous with, i s s i m i l a r to, theme. Both provide unity and coherence to a story but causal context d i f f e r s from a theme i n that i t emphasizes the cause-effect r e l a t i o n s h i p which p r e c i p i t a t e s the action of a story. The locus of causal context can be manipulated. In t h i s study the statement regarding the cause-effect r e l a t i o n s h i p was placed p r i o r to sub-sequent events ( i . e . at the beginning of the s t o r y ) , or a f t e r the events ( i . e . at the end of the s t o r y ) . Summary of Chapter 1 The purpose of t h i s introductory chapter was to specify the nature of the problem and to place i t i n a research context. The 11 problem investigated i n t h i s study was the influence of operational l e v e l and the locus of causal context on the r e c a l l of the main ideas of a story by kindergarten c h i l d r e n . The statement of the problem was followed by a j u s t i f i c a t i o n , on both t h e o r e t i c a l and p r a c t i c a l grounds, of the present study. The chapter concluded with a discussion of the variables and d e f i n i t i o n s of the terms used. Chapter 2 i s devoted to a review of the l i t e r a t u r e which led to the formation of the s i x hypotheses which were tested. CHAPTER 2 A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE This chapter i s devoted to a review of the l i t e r a t u r e per-r t a i n i n g to cognitive structure and story r e c a l l . As a r e s u l t of th i s review s i x hypotheses were formulated. Main e f f e c t s of cognitive l e v e l and of locus of causal context on r e c a l l of the main ideas of a story were predicted as was an i n t e r a c t i v e e f f e c t of cognitive l e v e l and locus of causal context. Three of the hypotheses r e l a t e to quantitative differences and three to q u a l i t a t i v e d i f f e r e n c e s . To aid c l a r i t y , the discussion i s presented i n four sections. In the f i r s t section arguments emanating from Piaget's notions of i n t e l l e c t u a l development are presented. This section i s subdivided into s i x parts: ( i ) syncretism, ( i i ) j u x t a p o s i t i o n , ( i i i ) transductive reasoning, (iv) the consequences of egocentrism, (v) the r e l a t i o n s h i p between egocentrism and operational l e v e l and (vi) a formal statement of the f i r s t hypothesis. The second section develops ideas based upon research into the e f f e c t of context, ( s p e c i f i -c a l l y the l o c a t i o n of s t r u c t u r a l features), on story r e c a l l . This section i s subdivided into three parts: (i) the r e l a t i o n s h i p between p r i o r knowledge and context, ( i i ) a consideration of causal context as p r i o r knowledge, and ( i i i ) a formal statement of the second hypothesis. The t h i r d section deals with the research which suggested a possible i n t e r a c t i v e e f f e c t of 12 13 cognitive l e v e l and locus of causal context. This section i s also divided into three parts: (1) the u t i l i z a t i o n of information provided by causal context, ( i i ) reorganization of ideas i n memory, and ( i i i ) a formal statement of the t h i r d hypothesis. The f i n a l section deals with the question of d i f f e r e n t i a l r e c a l l of main ideas as opposed to d e t a i l s . Three hypotheses r e l a t i n g to q u a l i t a t i v e differences are proposed. Chapter 2 concludes with a summary of the s i x hypotheses. I. The influence of cognitive development on story r e c a l l Piaget (1926, 1928) has argued that egocentrism dominates the thought and language of chi l d r e n p r i o r to the age of 7 or 8 years, and that t h i s has a profound influence on t h e i r reasoning a b i l i t i e s . Piaget argues that egocentrism leads to three kinds of thinking - transductive reasoning, syncretism and jux t a p o s i t i o n -which c l e a r l y d i s t i n g u i s h c h i l d from adult thought. I t i s hypothe-sized i n the present study that i t may be freedom from these modes of egocentric thought which increase the concrete operational c h i l d ' s a b i l i t y to r e c a l l more of the main ideas of a story. Central to the concept of egocentrism i s the notion that the c h i l d i s incapable of seeing things from the point of view of another; therefore what he sees or hears i s interpreted i d i o s y n c r a -t i c a l l y . The main ideas of a story are not determined i n an i d i o s y n c r a t i c and subjective way. The main ideas of a story are determined o b j e c t i v e l y by reference to l o g i c a l necessity. The ch i l d ' s r e c a l l of ideas may not correspond to the l o c a l structure of the story. The egocentric c h i l d w i l l l i k e l y attend to, and 14 remember, ideas because they have immediate meaning and importance f o r him rather than because they are e s s e n t i a l to the l o g i c of the story. The argument w i l l be made that the egocentric modes of thinking, syncretism, j u x t a p o s i t i o n and transductive reasoning, a l l involve a f a i l u r e to apprehend l o g i c a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s . Appre-hension of the l o g i c a l connections between statements would seem to be a necessary condition f o r the perception of main ideas. Each of these modes of thinking, syncretism, j u x t a p o s i t i o n , and transductive reasoning w i l l be examined i n d i v i d u a l l y i n order to demonstrate how they i n h i b i t the perception of r e l a t i o n s h i p s and hence the r e c a l l of main ideas. i ) Syncretism. Piaget (1928) explained the notion of syncretism i n terms of gestalt psychology. He argued that the c h i l d s e l e c t s one d e t a i l which becomes the most important part. Then the c h i l d imagines that he has understood everything and he develops a global schema, based upon t h i s one d e t a i l , which i s used to explain or i n t e r p r e t everything that was seen or heard. During t h i s process no attention i s paid to the necessity or l o g i c a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s . The c h i l d ' s thoughts are captivated by what i s important to him. Syncretism renders him incapable of ob j e c t i v e l y assessing ideas i n terms of t h e i r l o g i c a l necessity to the story. Therefore, t h i s suggests that the c h i l d who indulges i n s y n c r e t i s t i c reasoning w i l l have d i f f i c u l t y i n s e l e c t i n g and r e c a l l i n g the main ideas of a story. 15 i i ) Juxtapos i t i o n . Whereas syncretism i s concerned with the perception of a part as the whole, and i t s subsumption under an incorrect global schema, ju x t a p o s i t i o n deals with the lack of perception of the whole. Piaget described j u x t a p o s i t i o n as a deficiency of r e l a t i o n s h i p s , a f a i l u r e to perceive a t o t a l i t y . This, i n h i s view, leads to a lack of l o g i c a l connections between statements. F a i l u r e to perceive statements as pertaining to a common theme would seem to preclude the r e c a l l of those ideas which are e s s e n t i a l to that theme. Therefore, reasoning by j u x t a p o s i t i o n of ideas would not lead to the consistent s e l e c t i o n and r e c a l l of the main ideas. i i i ) Transductive reasoning. Juxtaposition, the tendency to regard statements as independent, may be seen as intimately l i n k e d to transductive reasoning. Piaget proposed that the outstanding c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of transductive reasoning i s that the c h i l d makes asso c i a t i v e rather than l o g i c a l connections between statements. In t h i s movement from p a r t i c u l a r to p a r t i c u l a r the c h i l d does not attempt to e s t a b l i s h general propositions by successive inductions nor does he postulate these for the purposes of deduction. This p r i m i t i v e form of reasoning by associations rather than by l o g i c a l necessity would appear to make i t d i f f i c u l t f o r the egocentric c h i l d to perceive main ideas. iv) The consequences of egocentrism. The consequences of egocentrism are both s p e c i f i c and general. It has been argued that the s p e c i f i c consequence of egocentric thought i s reasoning 16 by syncretism, j u x t a p o s i t i o n , and transduction. Reasoning of t h i s nature leads to a f a i l u r e to perceive l o g i c a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s . Furthermore, i t was argued that f a i l u r e to perceive l o g i c a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s leads to an i n a b i l i t y to select and r e c a l l main ideas c o n s i s t e n t l y or accurately. Piaget (1928) has also argued that egocentrism has, as a general consequence, a d e f i c i t i n the c h i l d ' s f i e l d of a t t e n t i o n . He argued that the c h i l d attends only to d e t a i l s and, unlike the adult, i s unable to synthesize the d e t a i l s into a whole. I t i s egocentrism which prevents the c h i l d from holding several ideas i n his head simultaneously. The a b i l i t y to perceive several ideas simultaneously would seem ce n t r a l to the perception of main ideas. The preceding argument i s based on the notion that the perception of main ideas involves a s e l e c t i o n , on the basis of importance or s i g n i f i c a n c e , between several ideas. Selection n e c e s s a r i l y involves comparison and comparison involves the simultaneous appraisal of two or more ideas. If the egocentric c h i l d i s incapable of dealing with several ideas simultaneously then the perception of main ideas w i l l n e c e s s a r i l y be d i f f i c u l t . v) The r e l a t i o n s h i p between egocentrism and operational  l e v e l . I t has been argued that egocentric ways of thinking r e s u l t i n a f a i l u r e to see r e l a t i o n s h i p s . Piaget ( 1 9 2 6 , 1928) maintained that a decline i n egocentrism i s not effected u n t i l the development of s o c i a l i z e d thought. This i s thought to occur around the ages of 7 to 8 years (Piaget, 1 9 2 8 ) . However, I intend to argue that i t i s more appropriate to view the decline 17 i n egocentric thinking as a function of cognitive maturity rather than chronological age. Piaget (1974) has argued that a major cognitive development takes place around the age of 7, although t h i s can happen e a r l i e r . He i s r e f e r r i n g to the development of concrete operational thought. A necessary condition f o r the inference of concrete operational thinking i s the a b i l i t y to conserve (Piaget and Inhelder, 1964). The idea of conservation i s based on the appreciation of r e l a t i o n -ships. The c h i l d must understand that a given r e l a t i o n s h i p remains the same i n spite of a p h y s i c a l transformation. The a b i l i t y to see the constancy of r e l a t i o n s h i p s , which conservation implies, leads to the conclusion that the reasoning a b i l i t y of concrete operational thinkers i s l e s s influenced by syncretism, juxtaposi-t i o n , or transduction. v i ) A formal statement of the f i r s t hypothesis The decline i n egocentrism, manifested by the a b i l i t y of concrete operational thinkers to engage s u c c e s s f u l l y i n conser-v a t i o n tasks, leads to the f i r s t hypothesis. Operational l e v e l i s related to the r e c a l l of the main ideas i n a story by kindergarten c h i l d r e n . S p e c i f i c a l l y , c h i l d r e n at the concrete operational l e v e l r e c a l l a greater number of the main ideas than c h i l d r e n at the preoperational l e v e l . I I . The Influence of Locus of Causal Context on Story R e c a l l In this section i t i s argued that the extent to which context can influence r e c a l l i s d i r e c t l y r e l a t e d to a subject's p r i o r 18 knowledge of that context, and his a b i l i t y to u t i l i z e that know-ledge. A d i s t i n c t i o n w i l l be made between two kinds of p r i o r knowledge, general and s p e c i f i c . Causal context w i l l be examined as an example of the l a t t e r kind of p r i o r knowledge. Furthermore, i t w i l l be argued that because causal context functions as a s t r u c t u r a l feature i t s locus, i s important i n terms of story r e c a l l . i ) The r e l a t i o n s h i p between p r i o r knowledge and context. It w i l l be argued that the influence of context i s determined by (i) p r i o r knowledge of the context, and ( i i ) the subject's a b i l i t y to u t i l i z e that knowledge. P r i o r knowledge of context w i l l be dealt with f i r s t . The subject's a b i l i t y to u t i l i z e the knowledge i s discussed more appropriately i n the following section dealing with the posited i n t e r a c t i v e e f f e c t between operational l e v e l and locus of causal context. It i s the contention of t h i s w r i t e r that p r i o r knowledge may be conceived as being both general and s p e c i f i c . Furthermore, i t w i l l be argued, i n the sec t i o n dealing with the i n t e r a c t i v e hypo-theses, that s p e c i f i c p r i o r knowledge i s constrained by general p r i o r knowledge. General p r i o r knowledge i s defined as knowledge which accrues to a person j u s t by v i r t u e of his existence i n the world. The adjective ' s p e c i f i c ' i s attached to p r i o r knowledge to designate that information which i s provided by an i n v e s t i g a t o r during an experiment. Both kinds of p r i o r knowledge may be seen as functioning as advance organizers (Ausubel, 1965) i n that they predispose a subject to make sense of incoming information. 19 B a r t l e t t (1932) was the f i r s t i n v e s t i g a t o r to propose that memory for prose was reconstructive and was influenced by p r i o r experience. Investigators a f t e r B a r t l e t t (Anderson and Ortony, 1975; Anderson, Reynolds, S c h a l l e r t , Goetz, 1977; Bransford and Johnson, 1972; Dooling and Lachman, 1971; Dooling and Mullet, 1973) have supported the "strong" constructive theory (Dooling, 1977) that perception, i n t e r p r e t a t i o n and comprehension i s influenced by the p r i o r general experiences of the subjects. Anderson and Ortony (1975) challenged the idea that l i n g u i s t i c competency was s u f f i c i e n t to explain comprehension. They argued that the comprehension of a sentence was not accomplished by the mere concatenation of the meanings of i n d i v i d u a l words, but . e n t a i l e d the construction of a mental representation. They demonstrated that the formation of a mental representation depended upon knowledge of the world and an analysis of the context. Although the conclusions of t h i s study were l i m i t e d to sentences, Anderson and Ortony have provided evidence for the influence of p r i o r experience on comprehension. In a subsequent study Anderson, e t . a l . (1977) expanded the work done with sentences to prose passages. Two of t h e i r hypo-theses are of d i r e c t concern to the present study. They argued, as they had done previously (1975), that meaning i s influenced by 'schemata.' (Schemata are conceptualized as i n t e r n a l repre-sentations of knowledge structures.) Furthermore, they argued that high l e v e l schemata can so influence perception of a -passage that only one, schemata-based, i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i s p o s s i b l e . In t h e i r study the i n t e r p r e t a t i v e frameworks, or schemafa, were-provided 20 by the academic i n t e r e s t and preparation of the subjects; physical education and music students interpreted the same passage i n s t r i k i n g l y d i f f e r e n t ways. The authors suggested that the d i f f e -rences were i n accord with the p r i o r experience of the subjects. The research reviewed above, although l i m i t e d i n terms of type of materials and subjects, does serve to support the idea that past experience can, i n a very general manner, exert strong influences on present perception. Bransford and Johnson (1972) i n an i n t e r e s t i n g p i c t o r i a l manipulation demonstrated that s p e c i f i c information, provided p r i o r to reading a passage, can enhance comprehension and r e c a l l . They advanced the idea that the p r o v i s i o n of s p e c i f i c information p r i o r to reading a passage helped the subject to create a context i n which to comprehend the passage. Providing the same information a f t e r reading f a i l e d to produce a s i m i l a r increment i n r e c a l l . Likewise, the p r o v i s i o n of p a r t i a l cues (the same pictures but unrelated to each other) also f a i l e d to improve r e c a l l . I t seems p l a u s i b i l e that the p a r t i a l cues did not enable the subjects to integrate the i n f o r -mation and therefore deprived them of the opportunity to create a context. In a s i m i l a r experiment, where the context was provided v e r b a l l y rather than p i c t o r a l l y , Dooling and Mullet (1973) obtained s i m i l a r r e s u l t s . The p r o v i s i o n of a thematic t i t l e p r i o r to reading a metaphorical passage influenced r e c a l l p o s i t i v e l y , whereas the presentation of the t i t l e a f t e r reading, or no t i t l e at a l l , did not enhance r e c a l l . Dooling and Mullet argued that the thematic t i t l e functioned as a mnemonic device and therefore must be a v a i l a b l e during encoding. I t i s also p l a u s i b l e that the t i t l e 21 provided a context or frame of reference which l e d to more e f f i c i e n t encoding. I f the subject was aware of the context p r i o r to reading he presumably had schemata a v a i l a b l e which he could u t i l i z e and thereby reduce the burden on h i s memory. One would therefore a n t i c i p a t e increased r e c a l l . i i ) A c o n s i d e r a t i o n of c a u s a l context as p r i o r knowledge. I t has been argued elsewhere (Chapter 1) that causal context f u n c t i o n s s i m i l a r l y to theme i n that i t serves to lend u n i t y and coherence to a t e x t . Therefore, the locus of causal context, l i k e the locus of thematic e f f e c t , could i n f l u e n c e the r e c a l l of main ideas i n a s t o r y by promoting e f f i c i e n t encoding and r e t r i e v a l . However, before proceeding to a formal statement of the hypothesis, i t i s necessary to examine the c o n f l i c t i n g r e s u l t s reported by Thorndyke (1977). Thorndyke's work w i t h theme (1977) provides a challenge to the r e s u l t s of Bransford and Johnson (1972) and Dooling and M u l l e t (1973). He found that the p r e s e n t a t i o n of the theme a f t e r was b e t t e r than no theme at a l l , whereas Bransford and Johnson (1972) and Dooling and M u l l e t (1973) found that the p r o v i s i o n of i n f o r -mation a f t e r reading d i d not i n f l u e n c e r e c a l l . Thorndyke (1977) concluded that h i s subjects were capable of r e o r g a n i z a t i o n i n memory. He explained the discrepant r e s u l t s as a f u n c t i o n of the d i f f e r e n c e s i n stimulus m a t e r i a l s (metaphorical as opposed to non-' metaphorical prose). However, another explanation f o r these r e s u l t s i s p o s s i b l e . Thematic t i t l e as used by Dooling and M u l l e t i s a higher l e v e l of a b s t r a c t i o n than theme as used by Thorndyke. 22 Thematic t i t l e was a generalization based upon the passage and therefore was i m p l i c i t rather than e x p l i c i t . In contrast Thorndyke's theme was e x p l i c i t l y stated i n the passage. There-fore, i t seems tenable to argue that because the l e v e l of abstraction of the stimulus materials i n these studies was d i f f e r e n t that they are not s t r i c t l y comparable. Therefore, the contradiction i s perhaps more apparent than r e a l . i i i ) A formal statement of the second hypothesis. Locus of causal context i s r e l a t e d to r e c a l l of the main ideas i n a story. S p e c i f i c a l l y , the presentation of the causal context p r i o r to the events which i t p r e c i p i t a t e s enhances the r e c a l l of main ideas, more than the presentation of causal context a f t e r the events. I l l . The Interactive Influence of Cognitive Level and Locus of  Causal Context on Story R e c a l l This section w i l l take up two points which were raised i n the previous section. The discussion w i l l be centred on ( i ) the a b i l i t y needed to u t i l i z e the information provided by causal context, and ( i i ) the cognitive requirements necessary for successful reorganization of ideas i n memory. This section w i l l conclude with the statement of an i n t e r a c t i o n hypothesis pertaining to quantity of r e c a l l . i ) The u t i l i z a t i o n of information provided by causal context. The extent to which there are developmental differences i n the a t t r i b u t i o n of causation w i l l n e c e s s a r i l y influence the a b i l i t y 23 to use causal context as an organizational and mnemonic device. Development differences i n cause-effect r e l a t i o n s h i p s have been examined and there are contradictions i n the research l i t e r a t u r e . Piaget (1930) argued that young chi l d r e n use c o r r e l a t i o n a l evidence i n the a t t r i b u t i o n of causation. He claimed that p r i o r to the age of seven or eight years, the c h i l d i s i n f a c t pre-causal i n h i s thinking. Egocentric ways of thinking lead to what Piaget (1930) has termed phenomenistic c a u s a l i t y . The c h i l d makes associations at random and connects everything with everything. It has been argued above that t h i s type of thinking i s charac-t e r i s t i c of the preoperational c h i l d . I f the preoperational c h i l d ' s thinking i s influenced by phenomenistic c a u s a l i t y he would be unable to make accurate causal a t t r i b u t i o n s . Therefore, he would be unable to use causal context as either an organiza-t i o n a l device or a mnemonic device. Conversely, the concrete operational c h i l d who r e l i e s less on egocentric modes of thought should be able to perceive the cause-effect r e l a t i o n s h i p s and to u t i l i z e t h i s i n encoding and r e t r i e v a l . Other investigators have established contradictory claims. It has been argued that f i v e - y e a r - o l d c h i l d r e n do make causal a t t r i b u t i o n s based upon temporal contiguity (Siegler and L i e b e r t , 1974) and consistent c o v a r i a t i o n (Mendolson and Schultz, 1976). One possible source of these discrepant r e s u l t s i s operational l e v e l . I f as Piaget has argued, phenomenistic c a u s a l i t y i s a r e s u l t of egocentric thought then the discrepant r e s u l t s can be interpreted within a cognitive developmental framework. 24 i i ) Reorganization of ideas i n memory. Thorndyke (1977) suggested that subjects given a theme a f t e r they read a passage r e c a l l e d more of the story than subjects given no theme because they were capable of the reorganization of the ideas i n memory. A possible source of influence on the a b i l i t y to reorganize material i n memory i s the developmental l e v e l of the subject. Piaget, Inhelder, and Others (1973) have presented evidence to suggest that memory processes are influenced by operational l e v e l . Brown (1975) and Stein (1978) have both argued that r e v e r s i b i l i t y of thought allows concrete operational children to reconstruct a l o g i c a l sequence when i t i s presented out-of-order. Preoperational chi l d r e n , because they lack r e v e r s i b i l i t y of thinking, are incapable of mentally e s t a b l i s h i n g l o g i c a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s and therefore f a i l to integrate the information. The combination of phenomenistic causal thinking and the lack of r e v e r s i b i l i t y i n preoperational children led to the proposal of a t h i r d hypothesis. i i i ) A formal statement of the t h i r d hypothesis Operational l e v e l and locus of causal context i n t e r a c t to influence r e c a l l of the main ideas of a story. There i s a d i f f e r -e n t i a l e f f e c t of locus of causal context for the concrete operational l e v e l but not for the preoperational l e v e l . S p e c i f i c a l l y , concrete operational children r e c a l l more of the main ideas of a story when locus of causal context i s presented at the beginning than at the end. However, there i s no difference i n locus of causal context for preoperational children. 25 IV. Q u a l i t a t i v e Differences i n Story R e c a l l I t has been argued that cognitive l e v e l and locus of causal context w i l l have s i g n i f i c a n t p o s i t i v e e f f e c t s on the number of main ideas r e c a l l e d by kindergarten children. Developmental differences i n t o t a l r e c a l l have been demonstrated ( C h r i s t i e and Schumacher, 1975), therefore, i t i s e s s e n t i a l to determine whether the increase i n r e c a l l of main ideas i s a function of th i s increase i n t o t a l r e c a l l . It was hypothesized that the egocentric nature of preopera-t i o n a l thought would lead to a f a i l u r e to see r e l a t i o n s h i p s . Concrete operational c h i l d r e n , who are less influenced by ego-c e n t r i c modes of thinking, are more l i k e l y to be able to deal with l o g i c a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s . Therefore, i t was proposed that concrete operational c h i l d r e n would r e c a l l a greater number of main ideas than the preoperational c h i l d r e n . The preceding r a t i o n a l e which l e d to a hypothesis regarding quantity of r e c a l l of main ideas, may also be used to support a hypothesis regarding q u a l i t y of r e c a l l . I t seems tenable that because preoperational c h i l d r e n are incapable of u t i l i z i n g r e l a t i o n a l information that as w e l l as r e c a l l i n g fewer main ideas they w i l l r e c a l l proportion-ately less of the main ideas than the concrete operational c h i l d r e n . S i m i l a r l y , the r a t i o n a l e developed regarding the influence of locus of causal context on the quantity of main ideas r e c a l l e d , suggests that q u a l i t y may also be influenced. I f cause-before leads to greater r e c a l l of main ideas than cause-after then one would predict that cause-before would lead to a proportionately greater r e c a l l of main ideas. 26 In the previous s e c t i o n these arguments were used to support an i n t e r a c t i v e e f f e c t of o p e r a t i o n a l l e v e l and locus of causal context on q u a n t i t y of r e c a l l . I t a l s o seems l i k e l y that the i n t e r a c t i v e e f f e c t of these two v a r i a b l e s could a l s o i n f l u e n c e q u a l i t y of r e c a l l . The r a t i o n a l e used to develop hypotheses regarding q u a n t i t y a l s o support hypotheses regarding q u a l i t y of r e c a l l of main ideas. Therefore, three a d d i t i o n a l hypotheses were formulated. i ) C h i l d r e n at the concrete o p e r a t i o n a l l e v e l r e c a l l p r o p o r t i o n a t e l y more of the main ideas of a s t o r y . C h i l d r e n at the p r e o p e r a t i o n a l l e v e l r e c a l l p r o p o r t i o n a t e l y fewer main ideas. i i ) P r e s e n t a t i o n of causal context at the beginning of the s t o r y r e s u l t s i n p r o p o r t i o n a t e l y greater r e c a l l of main ideas. The l o c a t i o n of causal context at the conclusion of the st o r y r e s u l t s i n p r o p o r t i o n a t e l y l e s s r e c a l l of the main ideas. i i i ) There i s an i n t e r a c t i o n of o p e r a t i o n a l l e v e l and locus of causal context on the p r o p o r t i o n of main ideas r e c a l l e d . There i s a d i f f e r e n t i a l e f f e c t of locus of causal context f o r the concrete o p e r a t i o n a l l e v e l but not f o r the p r e o p e r a t i o n a l l e v e l . S p e c i f i c a l l y , concrete o p e r a t i o n a l c h i l d r e n r e c a l l p r o p o r t i o n a t e l y more of the main ideas when locus of causal context i s presented at the beginning than at the end of a s t o r y , but there i s no d i f f e r e n c e a t t r i b u t a b l e to locus of causal context f o r preopera-t i o n a l c h i l d r e n . 27 Summary of the Six Hypotheses Three of the hypotheses re l a t e d to quantitative differences i n r e c a l l of main ideas and three related to q u a l i t a t i v e d i f f e r -ences. For the purposes of s t a t i s t i c a l analysis the hypotheses were stated i n the n u l l form. There i s no difference i n quantity or quality of r e c a l l of main ideas between concrete operational and preoperational children. S i m i l a r l y , there are no quantitative or q u a l i t a t i v e differences between cause before and cause a f t e r on the r e c a l l of main ideas. F i n a l l y , there are no quantitative nor q u a l i t a t i v e differences between the groups a t t r i b u t a b l e to an i n t e r a c t i o n between operational l e v e l and locus of causal context. CHAPTER 3 DESIGN OF THE STUDY This study was designed to ascertain the e f f e c t s of cognitive l e v e l , locus of causal context, and the i n t e r a c t i o n of these two v a r i a b l e s , on the r e c a l l of the main ideas of a story by kindergarten ch i l d r e n . Therefore, i t was necessary to determine the ch i l d ' s operational l e v e l p r i o r to the story r e c a l l task. In order to bring c l a r i t y to the discussion the procedures for the Piagetian assessment and the story r e c a l l w i l l be dealt with separately. METHOD Subjects The subjects were 42 kindergarten children selected from three elementary schools i n a suburb adjacent to a large metropolitan area i n the lower mainland of B r i t i s h Columbia. The mean age was 5.8 years and the standard deviation was .25 years. The socio-economic l e v e l of the school catchment areas was lower-middle to upper-middle c l a s s . Two of the schools were situated i n the older, commercial part of the c i t y w hilst the t h i r d was situated i n a r a p i d l y expanding suburb comprised of modern sing l e family dwellings and condominiums. Design The o r i g i n a l design was a 3 x 2 (operational l e v e l by locus of 28 29 causal context), f u l l y - c r o s s e d f i x e d e f f e c t s f a c t o r i a l . The chil d r e n were assessed f o r operational l e v e l and then randomly ) assigned to one of the two versions of the story. The c e l l s were balanced. , Procedure I. Piagetian Assessment The subjects for t h i s study were selected from amongst 192 kindergarten c h i l d r e n who were involved i n a much larger study concerning the s c a l i n g of Piagetian tasks. Research a s s i s t a n t s , including the present author, were trained i n the administration of the Piagetian tasks. Training was accomplished by observation of the procedures, and by t r i a l demonstrations during which feed-back was given. The i n t e r r a t e r r e l i a b i l i t y of scoring was computed on a random sample of 30 out of 192 cases. The r e l i a -b i l i t i e s were: single s e r i a t i o n .89, double s e r i a t i o n .93, one-way c l a s s i f i c a t i o n .89, two-way c l a s s i f i c a t i o n .85, c l a s s -i n c l u s i o n .60, three-way class i n c l u s i o n .75, conservation of number .91, continuous quantity .91, discontinuous quantity .97. The lower r e l i a b i l i t i e s of the class i n c l u s i o n and three-way c l a s s i f i c a t i o n tasks resulted from d i f f i c u l t y i n the wording of these tasks and d i f f i c u l t y i n probing. Neither of these tasks were used i n the assessment of operational l e v e l for the children i n the study. The children were brought to a room, usually the l i b r a r y or a spare classroom, and the tasks were administered i n d i v i d u a l l y . The experimenters, most of whom were teachers experienced i n dealing 30 with young ch i l d r e n , made every e f f o r t to ensure that the children were comfortable and that they understood the i n s t r u c t i o n s . A l l the equipment was v i s i b l e on the table during the t e s t i n g session and the tasks were presented i n a game-like manner. The chi l d r e n were t o l d that we were not only interested i n t h e i r answers to the puzzles but also i n the reasons they had for t h e i r answers. Task Descriptions Eight types of Piagetian tasks were selected for the assess-ment. They represented three sets of concepts and operations: s e r i a t i o n , c l a s s i f i c a t i o n , and conservation. There were two types of s e r i a t i o n tasks, four types of c l a s s i f i c a t i o n tasks, and two types of conservation tasks (Inhelder and Piaget, 1964). The protocol for the tasks and the scores f o r each task are presented i n Table A, Appendix. A. S e r i a t i o n I) One-way s e r i a t i o n . The c h i l d was presented with a set of nesting b a r r e l s , i n a scrambled order, and asked to l i n e them up from the biggest to the smallest. As only one-half of each b a r r e l was used they were presented as i f they were cups. The diameters of the h a l f b a r r e l s ranged from 1 cm. to 10 cm. i i ) Double s e r i a t i o n . The c h i l d was given a set of wooden s t i c k s varying i n s i z e from 2 cm. to 10 cm., and asked 31 to pretend that they were straws. They were then asked to f i n d the straws which matched the cups so that the biggest cup got the longest straw and the smallest cup got the shortest straw. B. C l a s s i f i c a t i o n i ) One-way c l a s s i f i c a t i o n ( f i r s t form). The chi l d r e n were given small a t t r i b u t e blocks (ranging i n s i z e from 2 cm. to 4 cm.) and asked to sort them into groups of things which go together. They were asked to t e l l why they grouped the blocks i n a p a r t i c u l a r way. The blocks were then scrambled again and the c h i l d was asked to f i n d another way to organize them. If they could group the blocks according to a second a t t r i b u t e they were again asked to explain t h e i r groupings. One-way c l a s s i f i c a t i o n (second form). The children were provided by 3 cm. by 4 cm. pictures of i n d i v i d u a l animals and b i r d s , ( i . e . , a horse, a duck, a rooster, e t c . ) , and asked to sort them into 3 or 4 groups of things that go together. The c h i l d was asked to explain how the animals belonged together. i i ) Two-way c l a s s i f i c a t i o n ( f i r s t form). The c h i l d was shown a matrix (21 cm. by 13 cm.) cons i s t i n g of a red flower with a green flower next to i t . Under the red flower was a red apple but the space next to the red 32 apple and under the green flower was empty. The objects were a l l i d e n t i f i e d f o r the c h i l d and he was asked to s e l e c t , from amongst a red and green apple, a red and green flower, and a c i r c l e , the best object for the empty space that would complete the pattern. An explanation was required and they were also asked i f anything else would go i n the empty place as w e l l as t h e i r choice. Two-way c l a s s i f i c a t i o n (second form). A matrix s i m i l a r to the one described above was used but the objects were c i r c l e s and squares. The procedure was the same except for the change i n names. i i i ) Three-way c l a s s i f i c a t i o n . The matrix (21 cm. by 13 cm.) was composed of a red f i s h and a green f i s h which were facing each other. Under the red f i s h was a red b i r d and the children were instructed to sel e c t the object which best went with the f i s h and the b i r d . Selection was made from two red birds which faced l e f t and r i g h t , 2 green birds which faced l e f t and r i g h t , and a f i s h . The children were asked the reason for t h e i r choice. iv) Class i n c l u s i o n . The c h i l d r e n were shown 10 small blocks (2.5 cm. square) seven of which were red and 3 of which were blue. Attention was drawn to the fact that a l l of the blocks were made of wood, but that some 33 were red and some were blue. The c h i l d was then asked to decide i f there were more red blocks or more wooden blocks, and to t e l l how they knew they were correct i n th e i r response. C. Conservation i ) Conservation of number. Three red and three blue blocks (2.5 cm. square) were l i n e d up i n a 1-to-l correspondence and the c h i l d was asked i f the rows were equal. A f t e r securing the c h i l d ' s agreement, the research assistant added two blocks to just one of the rows and the question was repeated. The rows were then made equal and the question put again. This procedure was repeated u n t i l both rows had ten blocks. The length of each row was approximately 30 cm. Equality of rows was again estab-l i s h e d . Then the research assistant pushed together the blocks of one row and asked i f they were s t i l l the same, or i f one row had more or less blocks than the others. The c h i l d was asked to explain h i s answer. i i ) Conservation of quantity (continuous quantity). The c h i l d was shown two b a l l s of plasticene of approximately 3 cm. i n diameter and was asked i f there was the same amount of plasticene i n each b a l l . I f the c h i l d thought that they were unequal he was asked to make them equal. When the equality of the amount of plast i c e n e was estab-l i s h e d the research assistant then proceeded to r o l l 34 out one b a l l of c l a y i n t o a hot dog shape. The c h i l d was then asked i f there was as much p l a s t i c e n e i n the b a l l as i n the hot dog, or i f there was more or l e s s p l a s t i c e n e now that i t had been r o l l e d out. The c h i l d was asked to give a reason f o r h i s answer. Conservation of quantity (discontinuous q u a n t i t y ) . The c h i l d was once again presented w i t h two b a l l s of p l a s t i c e n e and e q u a l i t y was e s t a b l i s h e d . The research a s s i s t a n t took one b a l l and s p l i t i t i n t o f i v e b a l l s of s m a l l e r but equal s i z e . The c h i l d was then asked i f there was s t i l l as much p l a s t i c e n e i n the one b a l l as i n the f i v e b a l l s , or i f there was more or l e s s p l a s t i c e n e i n the f i v e b a l l s taken together. Once again an exp l a n a t i o n of the answer was sought. Scoring S e r i a t i o n t a s k s . Every e f f o r t was made to ensure that the c h i l d r e n understood the tasks. I f the c h i l d f a i l e d to respond the d i r e c t i o n s were reworded. I f both s i n g l e and double s e r i a t i o n s were c a r r i e d out c o r r e c t l y , without perceptual matching, the c h i l d was given two po i n t s f o r each task. I f the s e r i e s were ordered c o r r e c t l y , but the children,used some t r i a l and e r r o r , they were given one p o i n t f o r each task., T o t a l p o s s i b l e p o i n t s f o r the s e r i a t i o n tasks was four. 35 C l a s s i f i c a t i o n tasks. C l a s s i f i c a t i o n according to one a t t r i b u t e earned a score of one point. I f the c h i l d could r e -c l a s s i f y using another a t t r i b u t e he scored another point. Success i n the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of the animals earned a t h i r d point. Both forms of the two-way c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task with reasons were worth one point. In the three-way c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task one point was awarded for the correct answer and a second point was given for a s a t i s f a c t o r y reason. The class i n c l u s i o n task was scored one point for the correct answer and zero for an i n c o r r e c t answer. The t o t a l possible points for a l l the c l a s s i -f i c a t i o n tasks (including class inclusion) was eight points. Conservation tasks. In the conservation tasks c h i l d r e n who gave the correct answer were awarded one point, whilst those who supplied a reason were awarded an a d d i t i o n a l point. Therefore, there was a t o t a l of s i x points for the conservation tasks. Assignment to Operational Level Children who were not able to complete tasks beyond s e r i a t i o n were designated as preoperational. Many children were f a m i l i a r with ordering tasks of t h i s type through the use of such toys as the nesting b a r r e l s . It was assumed that f a m i l i a r i t y with t h i s type of task could lead to correct ordering without the necessity of operational l o g i c . Children who were capable of one and two-way c l a s s i f i c a t i o n and who answered the conservation of number task c o r r e c t l y with an appropriate reason for t h e i r answer were deemed to be at the 36 concrete operational l e v e l . A middle, intermediary group was also i d e n t i f i e d . These children did not give evidence of w e l l -established or stable operations. Children i n t r a n s i t i o n between the preoperational and concrete operational l e v e l s do not give evidence of secure or stable operations and may display behaviours which are intermediary between the two stages. This i s r e f l e c t e d i n t h e i r tendency to v a c i l l a t e on questions, to change t h e i r answers, and to be generally inconsistent i n t h e i r responses (Inhelder, S i n c l a i r and Bovet, 1974). Children who demonstrate inconsistency i n performance cannot e a s i l y be c l a s s i f i e d as pre-operational or concrete operational. Therefore, i n t h i s study, i t was decided not to c l a s s i f y c hildren who gave anomalous responses but to assign them i n i t i a l l y to an intermediary group. The intermediary group consisted of children who e i t h e r (a) could c l a s s i f y but who were non-conservers of number, or (b) could conserve number but who had no c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s k i l l s other than simple c l a s s i f i c a t i o n . A preliminary analysis revealed inconsistencies within the intermediary group. In order to avoid the discrepancies induced by the use of e i t h e r c l a s s i f i c a t i o n or conservation s k i l l s as c r i t e r i a f o r membership i n the intermediary group, i t was decided to r e c l a s s i f y the c h i l d r e n according to a si n g l e c r i t e r i o n . Conservation of number was chosen as the operational s k i l l which would most l i k e l y discriminate between the l e s s and the more cog n i t i v e l y mature chil d r e n . Support for the decision to c l a s s i f y according to s k i l l i n conservation i s provided i n the w r i t i n g of Piaget: "The best c r i t e r i o n of the emergence of operations at 37 the l e v e l of concrete structure (towards the age of seven) i s , i n f a c t , the c o n s t i t u t i o n of invariants or notions of conserva-t i o n " (Piaget, 1964). Furthermore, Elkind (1969) sees the schema of conservation as a p i v o t a l construct i n the c h i l d ' s cognitive t r a n s i t i o n from the preoperational to the concrete operational stage. The subsequent reorganization of the subjects affected only those children who had been o r i g i n a l l y assigned to the i n t e r -mediary group. The r e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n . o f these children involved pl a c i n g the non-conservers of number with subjects who had been o r i g i n a l l y designated as preoperational and the conservers with those designated as being at the concrete operational l e v e l . Two c h i l d r e n were dropped from the study.- One, a boy, volunteered l i t t l e spontaneously and had great d i f f i c u l t y attending to the task at hand. The second subject, a g i r l , was uncooperative. The r e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of subjects led to unequal c e l l s i z e s . The f i n a l sizes are shown i n Table 1. Table 1 F i n a l Sample C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s Causal Context Operational Level  Preoperational Concrete Operational Male Female Male Female Number 2 7 7 5 Before Age x 67.50 69.57 71.86 70.20 SD 2.12 2.64 3.29 2.59 Number 4 4 7 4 A f t e r Age x 68.75 70.25 70.0 71.5 SD 4.27 3.94 3.61 3.53 38 I I . Story R e c a l l Two versions of the story were written by the author. (See Figure 1) The main ideas are marked with an a s t e r i s k . Figure 1 Story * A Peter had a hole i n h i s pocket * B So he l o s t things. 1 He was going to the store 2 because he wanted to buy some candy. 3 He had a quarter to spend. * 4 He put the quarter i n h i s pocket. 5 He wanted the quarter to be safe. * 6 On the way to the store the quarter f e l l out of h i s pocket. 7 He was very sad 8 because he l o s t h i s quarter. 9 The next day Peter went to play with h i s f r i e n d , Tom 10 because he wanted to show Tom h i s new green car. * 11 He put the car i n h i s pocket. 12 He wanted the car to be safe. * 13 On the way to Tom's house the green car slipped out of h i s pocket. 14 He was even sadder 15 because he l o s t the car. 16 Soon i t was Monday. 17 Peter was excited 18 because h i s kindergarten class was going to see a pond. 19 At the pond Peter found a frog. * 20 He put the frog i n h i s pocket 21 because he wanted to take i t home. * 22 On the way home the frog jumped out of h i s pocket. 23 Peter was so sad 24 he c r i e d 25 because he l o s t the frog. * 26 That night Peter's mum sewed up the hole i n h i s pocket * 27 so that he wouldn't lose anything els e . The story presented i n Figure 1 was about a l i t t l e boy c a l l e d Peter who l o s t things because he had a hole i n h i s pocket. Version two was s i m i l a r except that idea units A and B were placed before number 26 and 27. In the f i r s t version of the story (Cause-39 Before) t h i s fact was mentioned at the very beginning. In the second version of the story (Cause-After) t h i s fact was mentioned at the end. Both versions of the story consisted of 207 words and contained 19 sentences. The reading l e v e l was Grade 1 as assessed by the Fry r e a d a b i l i t y formula. The two versions of the st o r i e s were tape recorded. The reader was female. The recording of version one was 1 minute 42 seconds long whilst the recording of version two was 1 minute and 38 seconds. An e f f o r t was made to read both versions with s i m i l a r emphasis and pauses. The children were brought to a spare room for the story r e c a l l e i t h e r s t r a i g h t a f t e r the Piagetian task or a f t e r a short break. The children l i s t e n e d to one of four s t o r i e s as part of another study p r i o r to l i s t e n i n g to the Peter story. The ins t r u c t i o n s for the l i s t e n i n g were i d e n t i c a l . The ch i l d r e n were t o l d that they would l i s t e n to a ..short story and when i t was fi n i s h e d that they would be asked to t e l l the story i n t h e i r own words. They were also t o l d that they would be asked questions about the story and that everything they said would be tape recorded. A story r e c a l l session took approximately ten minutes. A f t e r the c h i l d had l i s t e n e d to the tape-recording of the f i r s t or second version of the Peter story he was asked to r e t e l l i t i n his own words. Every e f f o r t was made to encourage spontaneous r e c a l l ; however, i f th i s task proved to be too d i f f i c u l t , the c h i l d was prompted i n a general way. When th i s modified form of sponta-neous r e c a l l ceased to e l i c i t responses then a probing technique was used. 40 Method i ) Stimulated r e c a l l . There i s evidence to suggest that young children have d i f f i c u l t y with the spontaneous r e c a l l paradigm (Brown, 1975; Piaget, 1926). Therefore, a modification was considered defensible. Every e f f o r t was made to e l i c i t spon-taneous r e c a l l but, i f t h i s was unsuccessful, the c h i l d was encouraged by general prompts. The c h i l d was asked to t e l l as much of the story as he could remember. If he had d i f f i c u l t y beginning he was prompted i n a very general way. The i n t e n t i o n was to stimulate the c h i l d ' s r e c a l l i n a general way without providing d i r e c t verbal cues. For example, the c h i l d was asked to t e l l who was i n the story and what i t was about. Other general prompts used were: " ' t e l l me more', 'anything else?', 'what happened next?'." If the c h i l d stopped abruptly i n the middle of a sequence, a technique suggested by Korman (1945), i n which the experimenter repeated the c h i l d ' s l a s t few words, was used. This technique proved to be quite successful i n stimulating r e c a l l . i i ) Probed r e c a l l . Direct probing was used when the stimulation techniques f a i l e d to e l i c i t any further responses. The ch i l d r e n were questioned d i r e c t l y about any part of the story that they had previously not mentioned. In addition, they were a l l asked a standard set of questions (See Table B, Appendix) directed at both r e c a l l of events and understanding of r e l a t i o n -ships between' events. If the c h i l d had previously mentioned the events or the reasons for the events i n the stimulated r e c a l l , he was not asked those questions again. 41 Scoring of the Story R e c a l l Protocols i ) Idea u n i t s . The story was divided into idea units according to a system proposed by Thorndyke (1977) . For the purposes of th i s study an idea unit i s defined as a clause or a sentence containing an action or s t a t i v e verb. Relationships between modifiers and t h e i r modified terms are not considered as separate idea units unless they appear as r e l a t i v e clauses. The story consisted of twenty nine idea units (See Figure 1). i i ) Main idea u n i t s . Two adult, native speakers of English were asked to sel e c t the idea units which they thought were e s s e n t i a l to the theme of the story. The theme, (causal context), was underlined. Previously, the experimenter had selected the most important ideas. The percentage of agreement between the experimenter and the two raters was 88% for rater 1 and 96% for rat e r 2. The percentage of agreement between the two raters was 96%. Ten idea units which were selected by a l l three adults were accepted as the main ideas of the story. These are indicated i n Figure 1. i i i ) Assignment of scores. Scoring was done according to the c r i t e r i o n of whether the c h i l d r e c a l l e d the idea of the unit as opposed to the actual words. For example, to receive c r e d i t f o r number 9, i t was not necessary to name Tom, but to know that Peter v i s i t e d a f r i e n d . The correct noun was also not e s s e n t i a l to earn c r e d i t , therefore waterhole or r i v e r was accepted instead of pond i n number 18, and n i c k e l or dime was accepted instead of 42 quarter for number 3. One point was awarded for each idea unit that the c h i l d r e c a l l e d . Points were awarded for both stimulated and probed r e c a l l . In the event that a c h i l d r e c a l l e d an idea unit both spontaneously and then when he was questioned d i r e c t l y , he was credited with only one point for the spontaneous r e c a l l ( i . e . each idea unit was only scored once). iv) R e l i a b i l i t y of the scoring of the protocols. Each protocol was scored twice, once by the experimenter and once by a person who was naive about the purpose of the study. A percentage of agreement for each protocol was calculated. Agree-ment ranged from 100% (4 cases) to 69% (1 case) with the median percentage of agreement being 90%. The difference between scores was examined and a f t e r discussion 100% agreement was reached. The consensus score was the score that was used i n the subsequent an a l y s i s . v) Scores a) Quantity. Each c h i l d ' s score consisted of 4 parts: main ideas r e c a l l e d spontaneously or when probed, and d e t a i l s r e c a l l e d spontaneously or when probed. The number of stimulated and probed main ideas were combined to give a t o t a l number of main ideas r e c a l l e d . I t was t h i s combined score for main ideas which was analyzed. A subanalysis on the components (stimulated main ideas and probed main ideas) was performed subsequently to the analysis 43 of the t o t a l number of main ideas, b) Quality. A p a r t i c u l a r question addressed i n t h i s study was the d i f f e r e n t i a l r e c a l l of main ideas by concrete operational c h i l d r e n . It was, therefore, necessary to look at the r e l a t i o n s h i p of main idea units to the t o t a l number of idea units r e c a l l e d . The r a t i o of main idea units to the t o t a l number of idea units r e c a l l e d , (main ideas and d e t a i l ) , was converted to a percentage. Subsequently, the score for main idea units re-c a l l e d was broken down into i t s components (stimulated and probed). The r a t i o of stimulated main ideas to the t o t a l of stimulated ideas was changed to a percentage. S i m i l a r l y the r a t i o of probed main ideas to the t o t a l number of probed ideas was also converted to a percentage. There were three percentage scores for each c h i l d : percentage of main ideas within t o t a l r e c a l l , within stimulated r e c a l l and within probed r e c a l l . These scores were submitted to arcsine transforma-tions i n order to normalize the d i s t r i b u t i o n . The transformed scores were used i n the analysis. The Analysis of the Data The o r i g i n a l 3 x 2 (operational l e v e l by locus of causal context) design was modified because of the r e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n 44 (discussed above) of subjects i n the intermediary group. The two dependent v a r i a b l e s , quantity and q u a l i t y , were analyzed by a 2 x 2 (operational l e v e l by locus of causal context) f i x e d e f f e c t s , two-way analysis of variance. As shown i n Table 1 the c e l l sizes were nonorthogonal. Thus .an a p r i o r i ordering approach (Overall and Spiegal, 1969) was adopted. The organismic v a r i a b l e (operational l e v e l ) , was entered f i r s t , followed by locus of causal context. As t h i s study was of an exploratory nature the alpha l e v e l f o r a l l tests was set at .05. Summary Chapter 3 was concerned with reporting the methodology involved i n t e s t i n g the s i x hypotheses. The Piagetian assessment procedures and method of scoring adopted were presented. Procedures concerned with the administration and scoring of the story r e c a l l tasks were also d e t a i l e d . Information regarding the c a l c u l a t i o n of the scores on the two dependent variables was given. The chapter concluded with a d e s c r i p t i o n of the design and the a n a l y s i s . CHAPTER 4 RESULTS Chapter 4 i s devoted to the presentation of the r e s u l t s of the analysis. The re s u l t s f o r quantity and q u a l i t y w i l l be discussed separately. I. Quantity of R e c a l l i ) R e c a l l of main ideas The mean number of main ideas r e c a l l e d and the standard deviations are provided i n Table 2. Table 2 C e l l Means and Standard Deviations f o r Re c a l l of Main Ideas by Operational Level and Locus of Causal Context Causal Context Operational Level Preoperational Concrete Operational Overall n x S D _ n x SD x SD Cause Before 9 4.44 (2.46) 12 5.50 (1.68) 5.05 (2.06) Cause Af t e r 8 4.00 (2.67) 11 6.00 (1-61) 5.16 (2.29) Ov e r a l l 4.24 (2.49) 5.74 (1.63) As shown i n Table 2, operational l e v e l s i g n i f i c a n t l y influenced r e c a l l of main ideas F_ (1,36) = 5.27; p_^.05. Concrete operational c h i l d r e n (x = 5.74) r e c a l l e d more main ideas than preoperational c h i l d r e n (x = 4.24). Locus of causal context was nonsignificant ( F ^ 1.0). The i n t e r a c t i o n was also nonsignificant (F< 1.0). 45 46 Table 3 Analysis of Variance Summary Table for Total R e c a l l of Main Ideas Source SS df MS F Prob. Op. Level 22.75 1 22.75 5.28 0.02 3 Causal Context 0.008 1 0.008 _ a 0.97 Op. L. X C.C. 2.17 1 2.17 - a 0.48 Error 155.22 36 aF<1.0 Subanalysis of the two components of r e c a l l of Main Ideas  Stimulated Main Ideas and Probed Main Ideas. i ) Stimulated r e c a l l of main ideas When stimulated r e c a l l of main idea was treated as the dependent va r i a b l e operational l e v e l s i g n i f i c a n t l y a ffected the amount of r e c a l l , F_ (1,36) = 5.00 p_<.05 as shown i n Table 3. Concrete operational c h i l d r e n (x-= 3.5) r e c a l l e d more main ideas than preoperational children (x = 2.2). 47 Table 4 C e l l Means and Standard Deviations f o r Stimulated R e c a l l of Main Ideas by Operational Level and Locus of Causal Context Causal Context Operational Level Preoperational Concrete Operational Overall SD x SD x SD Cause Before 2. 67 (2. 12) 3.06 (1 .62) 2.91 (1. 81) Cause After 1. 75 (1. 67) 4.00 (2 .00) 3.05 (2. 15) Overal l 2. 24 (1. 92) 3.52 (1 .83) Contrary to predictions the locus of causal context was nons i g n i f i c a n t . (F< 1.0) The i n t e r a c t i o n was also non-s i g n i f i c a n t _F (1,36) = 2.37; .05. Table 5 Analysis of Variance Summary Table for Stimulated R e c a l l of Main Ideas Source SS df MS F Prob. Operational Level 17.33 1 17.33 5.01 0.03 Causal Context 0.0 1 0.0 a 1.00 Op.Level x C C . 8.19 1 8.19 2.37 0.13 Error 124.42 36 a F< 1.0 48 i i ) Probed r e c a l l of main ideas When probed r e c a l l of main ideas was treated as the dependent va r i a b l e none of the r e s u l t s were s i g n i f i c a n t (F< 1.0 i n each case). (See Table C, Appendix). A table of means and standard deviations for probed r e c a l l i s also i n the appendix (Table D). I I . Quality of Recall None of the research hypotheses r e l a t i n g to the d i f f e r e n t i a l r e c a l l of main ideas were supported. Operational l e v e l and locus of causal context had no s i g n i f i c a n t e f f e c t on the percentage of main ideas r e c a l l e d (F<1.0 i n both cases). The i n t e r a c t i o n was also nonsignificant (F<1.0) Table 6 Means and Standard Deviations for Proportion of Main Ideas Recalled (Transformed Scores) by Operational Level and Locus of Causal Context Causal Context Operational Level Preoperational Concrete Operational O v e r a l l ¥ SD x ,-SD x SD Cause Before 1.75 (0.71) 3.40 (5.3) 2.70 (4.05) Cause A f t e r 1.62 (0.68) 1.86 (0.19) 1.76 ( .46) Over a l l 1.69 (0.68) 2.66 (3.84) The summary analysis of variance table i s presented i n the Appendix (Table E). 49 Subanalysis An analysis of the transformed scores of stimulated r e c a l l revealed no s i g n i f i c a n t e f f e c t of operational l e v e l F_ (1,36) = 3.32 _p_ >.05, and no s i g n i f i c a n t e f f e c t of locus of causal context (F<1.0). The i n t e r a c t i o n was also nonsignificant F_ (1,36) = 1.35; p_^.05. Table 7 Means and Standard Deviations f o r Proportion of Stimulated Main Ideas Recalled (Transformed Scores) by Operational Level and Locus of Causal Context Causal Context Operational Level Preoperational Concrete Operational Overall x SD x SD x SD , Cause Before 1 .76 (0. 75) 1.89 (° .34) 1.56 (0. 80) Cause After 1 .35 (0. 86 1.917 (0 .41) 1.90 (0. 37.) Overall 1 .83 (0. 54) 1.68 (0 .68) A summary analysis of variance table i s presented i n the appendix (Table F ) . An analysis of the percentage of probed r e c a l l also revealed no s i g n i f i c a n t e f f e c t of operational l e v e l , (F_<_1«0) causal context, (F_< 1.0) or t h e i r i n t e r a c t i o n (F_<.1.0). 50 Table 8 Means and Standard Deviations for Proportion of Probed Main Ideas Recalled (Transformed Scores) by Operational Level and Locus of Causal Context Causal Context Operational Level  Preoperational Concrete Operational Overall x SD - x SD x SD Cause Before 1.67 (1.03) 1.76 (0.94) 1.58 (0.96) Cause A f t e r 1.48 (0.93) 1.90 (0.50) 1.83 (0.75) Ov e r a l l 1.73 (0.95) 1.72 (0.72) The summary analysis of variance table i s presented i n the Appendix (Table G). Chapter 4 dealt with the presentation of the r e s u l t s . Operational l e v e l s i g n i f i c a n t l y influenced the r e c a l l of main ideas. Most of the v a r i a b i l i t y i n r e c a l l of main ideas was contributed by stimulated r e c a l l . Locus of causal context was not s i g n i f i c a n t . S i m i l a r l y operational l e v e l by locus of causal context was not s i g n i f i c a n t . There were no e f f e c t s of operational l e v e l , causal context, or the i n t e r a c t i o n between them, on the proportion of r e c a l l of main,ideas. A discussion of these r e s u l t s i s presented i n the succeeding chapter. CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS This study was conducted to test hypotheses r e l a t i n g to the influences of operational l e v e l and locus of causal context on the r e c a l l of main ideas by kindergarten c h i l d r e n . Two dependent v a r i a b l e s , quantity and q u a l i t y of r e c a l l of main ideas, were analyzed using a fixed e f f e c t s , two-way analysis of variance. The r e s u l t s of the analysis revealed that operational l e v e l s i g n i f i c a n t l y influenced r e c a l l of the number of main ideas, and that stimulated r e c a l l accounted for most of the v a r i a b i l i t y . However, there was no difference i n proportions of main ideas reca Chapter 5 i s devoted to a discussion of these r e s u l t s . Limitations of the study w i l l be noted and some r e f l e c t i o n s on future research w i l l be offered. Some conclusions w i l l also be presented. Limitations of the Study This study was l i m i t e d i n terms of subjects and type of stimulus material used. The subjects were 40 f i v e and s i x year old kindergarten children selected from an urban lower-middle to upper-middle class neighbourhood i n the lower mainland of B r i t i s h Columbia. The material used was an example of one form of connected discourse, namely narrative prose. The form of the narra t i v e , a simple story, (Mandler, 1977) also l i m i t s the generalizations that can be made. 52 Discussion of the Results The e f f e c t s of the two independent v a r i a b l e s , operational l e v e l and locus of causal context, w i l l be discussed separately. I. Operational Level i ) Quantity of r e c a l l . The s i g n i f i c a n t main e f f e c t of o p e r a t i o n a l . l e v e l on number of main ideas r e c a l l e d appeared due to stimulated r e c a l l . I t i s possible that the seemingly contradictory evidence regarding r e c a l l of main ideas by young c h i l d r e n could have arisen because of d i f f e r e n t methods used to e l i c i t r e c a l l . Korman (1945) used general e l i c i t i n g techniques to get at the c h i l d ' s r e c a l l and C h r i s t i e and Schumacher (1975) encouraged the c h i l d r e n to r e c a l l as much as possible. In contrast Piaget had the c h i l d r e n r e t e l l s t o r i e s to other c h i l d r e n . I t i s f e a s i b l e that the differences i n r e c a l l i n these studies could, i n part, be due to the l i s t e n e r . An adult l i s t e n e r with knowledge of the story i s l i k e l y to respond d i f f e r e n t l y , e i t h e r overtly or covertly, than a c h i l d l i s t e n e r who has no knowledge of the story. Stimulated r e c a l l functioned most e f f e c t i v e l y i n discriminating these two groups of c h i l d r e n . In contrast probing or d i r e c t questioning, did not serve to d i s t i n g u i s h these two groups. Future research involving memory f o r s t o r i e s might f r u i t f u l l y employ stimulation techniques with young c h i l d r e n , rather than e x p l i c i t probed techniques. 53 i i ) Quality of r e c a l l This study f a i l e d to demonstrate that there were differences between operational l e v e l s i n terms of the proportion of main ideas r e c a l l e d . A possible source of the f a i l u r e to r e j e c t the n u l l hypothesis l i e s i n the i n s t r u c t i o n s which were given to the c h i l d r e n . The c h i l d r e n were t o l d to l i s t e n to the story c a r e f u l l y and to r e t e l l as much of i t as they could remember. Future research could investigate the e f f e c t of i n s t r u c t i o n and opera-t i o n a l l e v e l and r e c a l l . For example, i n s t r u c t i o n s to r e c a l l only the most important things might reveal s i g n i f i c a n t differences between the two groups. One would a n t i c i p a t e that under these circumstances the concrete operational c h i l d r e n would r e c a l l proportionately more of the main ideas than the preoperational c h i l d r e n . I t i s also f e a s i b l e that conservation of number, although a p i v o t a l concept i n concrete operational thinking, i s not powerful enough to discriminate between preoperational and concrete operational c h i l d r e n . A more s p e c i f i c aspect of concrete opera-t i o n a l thinking may be linked to q u a l i t a t i v e differences i n r e c a l l of main ideas. For example, s e l e c t i o n of main ideas involves apprehension of part-whole r e l a t i o n s h i p s , therefore, c l a s s -i n c l u s i o n tasks may serve to discriminate c h i l d r e n who s e l e c t i v e l y attend to main ideas. I I . Locus of Causal Context None of the hypotheses regarding the influence of causal context were substantiated. The f a i l u r e to demonstrate an e f f e c t of causal context suggests several things. F i r s t , the lack of a 54 main effect of locus of causal context suggests that both versions of the story were equally easy or equally d i f f i c u l t to re c a l l . It seems lik e l y that familiarity with the particular cause-effect relationship in this story made both versions equally easy. Future research could make use of probes to determine the child's understanding of what is happening. Further research could be directed at evaluating the influence of an implicit, as opposed to an explicit, statement of the causal theme. The expression of unfamiliar as opposed to familiar cause-effect relationships might also lead to other results. It i s possible that there are developmental differences in the extent to which a structural feature is used as an organization and retrieval device. Previous work with the manipulation of theme (Dooling and Mullet, 1973; Thorndyke, 1977) was done with adult subjects. Perhaps young children are unable to take advantage of this feature because they do not attend to i t . Instructions which made the theme apparent might lead to i t s u t i l i z a t i o n in the enhancement of re c a l l . Implications The results of this study indicate that operational level does have an effect on recall of main ideas. Consequently, further research which examines the memory of children for stories should take into account the level of cognitive maturity of the subjects. This study also presented evidence that stimulated recall was a useful way of discriminating between groups of children. Stimulated r e c a l l , which entails more adult direction than j u s t spontaneous r e c a l l , but les s adult d i r e c t i o n than probing, might prove f r u i t f u l i n further work on children's memory for prose. 56 REFERENCE NOTES A r l i n , M. and A r l i n , P. L i s t blocking, Piagetian l e v e l , and organized r e c a l l . Unpublished manuscript, University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1977. A r l i n , M. and A r l i n , P. Operational l e v e l and children's r e c a l l for relevant and i r r e l e v a n t information from s t o r i e s . Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association: SIG Discourse Group, Toronto, March 1978. 57 REFERENCES Anderson, R.C., & Ortony, A. On putting apples into b o t t l e s - A problem of polysemy. Cognitive Psychology, 1975, 1_, 167-180. Anderson, R.C., Reynolds, R.E., S c h a l l e r t , D.L., & Goetz, E.T. Frameworks for comprehending discourse. American Educational Research Journal. 1977, 14, 367-381. Ausubel, D. Educational psychology: A cognitive view. New York: Holt, 1968. B a r t l e t t , F.C. Remembering: A study i n experimental and s o c i a l  psychology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1932. Bransford, J.D., & Johnson, M.K. Contextual p r e r e q u i s i t e f or under-standing: Some investigations of comprehension and r e c a l l . Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior. 1972, 1_, 167-180. Brown, A.L., & Murphy, M.D. Reconstruction of a r b i t r a r y versus l o g i c a l sequences by pre-school chi l d r e n . Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. 1975, 20, 307-326. Brown, A.L., & Smiley, S.S. Rating the importance of s t r u c t u r a l units of prose passages: A problem of metacognitive development. C h i l d Development. 1977, 48, 1-8. C h r i s t i e , D.J., & Schumacher, G.M. Developmental trends i n the abstraction and r e c a l l of relevant versus i r r e l e v a n t thematic information from connected verbal materials. Child Development. 1975, 46, 598-602. Dooling, D.J. Levels of encoding and retention of prose. In G.H. Bower (ed.) The Psychology of Learning and Motivation. Volume I I . N.Y.: Academic Press, 1977. 58 Dooling, D.J., & Mullet, R.L. Locus of thematic e f f e c t s i n retention of prose. Journal of Experimental Psychology. 1973, 9_7, 404-406. Elk i n d , D. Egocentrism i n adolescence. Ch i l d Development. 1967, 38, 1025-1034. Elkind, D., & F l a v e l l , J.H. (eds.) Studies i n cognitive development. New York: Oxford University Press. 1969. F l a v e l l , J.H. The developmental psychology of Jean Piaget. Princeton:,., N.J.: Van Nostrand, 1963. Ginsburg, H., & Opper, S. Piaget's theory of i n t e l l e c t u a l development. New Jersey: P r e n t i c e - H a l l , Inc., 1969. Glenn, C. 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Cognitive Psychology, 1977, 9_, 77-110. 61 APPENDIX TABLE A Protocol for Piagetian Assessment TABLE B Questions Used i n Probing TABLE C Summary ANOVA table for Number of Probed R e c a l l of Main Ideas TABLE D Means and Standard Deviations f o r Number of Probed R e c a l l of Main Ideas TABLE E Summary ANOVA table f o r Quality of Recall (Proportion of Main Ideas Recalled - Transformed Scores) TABLE F Summary ANOVA table f o r Quality of Re c a l l (Proportion of Stimulated Main Ideas - Transformed Scores) TABLE G Summary ANOVA table for Quality of Re c a l l (Proportion of Probed Main Ideas - Transformed Scores) Table A Protocol f o r Piagetian Assessment Name Date of B i r t h 1. Single s e r i a t i o n : c o r r e c t l y ordered some t r i a l and error out of sequence 2. Double s e r i a t i o n : c o r r e c t l y ordered some t r i a l and error and/or out of sequence unable to order second sequence to f i r s t 3. Simple c l a s s i f i c a t i o n : a. a t t r i b u t e (colour or shape) b. at t r i b u t e s (colour and/or shape and/or size) c- a t t r i b u t e s (animals,) 4. 2-way c l a s s i f i c a t i o n ( F i r s t form): object selected reason f o r s e l e c t i o n 5. 2-way c l a s s i f i c a t i o n (Second form): object selected reason f o r s e l e c t i o n 6. 3-way c l a s s i f i c a t i o n object selected reason for s e l e c t i o n 7. Class i n c l u s i o n ( F i r s t form): more wooden blocks or more reason (colour) blocks 63 8. Class i n c l u s i o n (Second form) a) I f a l l the birds flew away from the world would there be any animals l e f t ? yes/no why? b) I f a l l the animals l e f t f o r some reason would there'be any birds l e f t ? yes/no why c) Are b i r d s , animals? yes/no why? 9. Conservation of number: some/more/less reason 10. Conservation of quantity (continuous quantity) some/more/less reason 11. Conservation of quantity (discontinuous quantity) some/more/less reason -64 Table B Probes 1. Where did Peter go? 2. How much did he have to spend? 3. Where did he put it? 4. Why did he put i t there? 5. Where did he go the next day? 6. Why did he go there? 7. Why was Peter sad? 8. Why was he excited? 9. What did he find? 10. What did he do with it? 11. Why did he do that? 12. What happend to it? 13. What did his mother do? 14. Why did she do that? 65 Table C Summary ANOVA table f o r Number of Probed R e c a l l of Main Ideas sv .• SS df MS F Prob. Op. Level 0.37 1 0.37 0.15 0.70 C.C. 0.01 1 0.01 a 0.95 Op. Level X C.C. 1.93 1 1.93 0.78 0.38 Error 87.97 36 a F<1.0 66 Table D Means and Standard Deviations for Number of Probed R e c a l l of Main Ideas Causal Context Operational Level Preoperational Concrete Operational O v e r a l l x SD x SD x SD Cause Before 1.78 (1.72) 2.42 (1.73) 2.14 (1.71) Cause Af t e r 2.25 (1.75) 2.00 (1.00) 2.11 (1.33) Overal l 2.00 (1.70) 2.22 (1.40) Table E Summary ANOVA table f o r Quality of R e c a l l (Proportion of Main Ideas Recalled - Transformed Score SV SS df MS F Prob Op. Level 8.72 1 8.72 0.98 0.00 C C . 6.78 1 6.78 0.76 0.32 Op. E X C C . 4.84 1 4.84 0.54 0.38 Error 317.37 36 8.81 0.46 68 Table F Summary ANOVA table f o r Quality of Recall (Proportion of Stimulated Main Ideas - Transformed Scores) SV SS df MS F Prob. Op. Level 1.18 1 1.18 3.32 0.07 C C . 0.35 1 0.35 0.99 0.32 Op. Level X C C 0.48 1 0.48 1.35 0.25 Error 12.75 36 0.35 69 Table G Summary ANOVA table f o r Quality of R e c a l l (Proportion of Probed Main Ideas - Transformed Scores) SV SS_ df MS F Prob. Op. Level 0.63 1 0.63 0.85 0.36 C.C. 0.01 1 0.01 0.01 0.91 Op Level X C.C. 0.25 1 0.24 0.33 0.56 Error 26.80 36 0.74 

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