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A comparison of the reversal shift task with two piagetian tasks Lake, Jean Baird 1978

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A COMPARISON OF THE REVERSAL SHIFT TASK WITH TWO PIAGETIAN TASKS by JEAN BAIRD LAKE B. A., U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1949 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 r e q u i r e d standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October, 1978 (d) Jean B a i r d Lake, 1978 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of Brit ish Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Jean B a i r d Lake Department of Education The University of Brit ish Columbia 2075 W e s b r o o k P l a c e V a n c o u v e r , C a n a d a V6T 1W5 Date October 10,.. 1978 ABSTRACT A study was undertaken to compare the performance of kindergarten c h i l d r e n on the o p t i o n a l r e v e r s a l s h i f t task w i t h t h e i r performance on two P i a g e t i a n t a s k s , the matrix and the two-way c l a s s i f i c a t i o n t a s k s . The comparison was suggested by the f a c t t h a t the r e v e r s a l s h i f t task has been used by Kendler and Kendler (1962) t o provide evidence of a c o g n i t i v e change o c c u r r i n g i n c h i l d r e n between 5 and 7 years of age. P i a g e t (1964) has a l s o suggested a major change i n " c h i l d r e n ' s t h i n k i n g i n the same age range and has used the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n and matrix tasks to i l l u s t r a t e t h i s change. Three major t h e o r e t i c a l views concerning the r e v e r s a l s h i f t task were examined: the mediational hypothesis of Kendler and Kendler (1962), the a t t e n t i o n theory viewpoint of Zeaman and House (1963) and the p e r c e p t u a l d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n view of Tighe and Tighe (1968). A number of s t u d i e s d e a l i n g w i t h the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n tasks were reviewed. These i n c l u d e d s t u d i e s by Inhelder and P i a g e t (1964), Kofsky (1966) and Smedslund (1964). M a t r i x task s t u d i e s by Inhelder and Piaget (1964), Overton and Brodzinsky (1972) , Bruner and Kenney (1966) and Odom et a l . (1965, 1971) were a l s o reviewed. The P i a g e t i a n and r e v e r s a l s h i f t tasks were analyzed to i d e n t i f y t h e i r common fe a t u r e s . I t was argued t h a t a l l three tasks r e q u i r e d the c h i l d to recognize the a b s t r a c t dimensions of s t i m u l i and to be able to use the dimension values a p p r o p r i a t e l y . Because of the s i m i l a r i t i e s i n v o l v e d i n the three t a s k s , i t was suggested t h a t a c h i l d i n the t r a n s i t i o n a l stage who could perform w e l l on the P i a g e t i a n tasks would a l s o tend to make a r e v e r s a l s h i f t on the Kendler task. I t was t h e r e f o r e hypothesized t h a t f o r c h i l d r e n i n the 5- to 7-year age range there should be a p o s i t i v e c o r r e l a t i o n between performance on the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n and matrix tasks and the tendency t o make a r e v e r s a l s h i f t . An experiment was c a r r i e d out w i t h 34 kindergarten subjects performing the three t a s k s : the o p t i o n a l r e v e r s a l s h i f t , the two-way c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task and the matrix task. Results obtained on each task were s i m i l a r to those of previous s t u d i e s but the hypothesized r e l a t i o n s h i p was not upheld. I t was suggested t h a t a group of subjects i n c l u d i n g s l i g h t l y o l d e r c h i l d r e n might show t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p i n a s i m i l a r experiment. Other p o s s i b l e explanations f o r the lack of r e l a t i o n s h i p were examined i n c l u d i n g : task format, v e r b a l f a c t o r s , i n c o n s i s t e n t performance by c h i l d r e n i n the t r a n s i t i o n p e r i o d , a t t e n t i o n a l and m o t i v a t i o n a l f a c t o r s and d i f f e r e n -t i a l t r a n s f e r e f f e c t s . In c o n c l u s i o n , i t was f e l t t h a t the study r e i n f o r c e d the view t h a t more knowledge i s needed of the f a c t o r s i n v o l v e d i n l e a r n i n g t a s k s . I n v e s t i g a t i o n s drawing on d i f f e r e n t approaches would appear t o be h e l p f u l i n i d e n t i f y i n g these f a c t o r s . i v TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION 1 Ideas Regarding a Developmental Change 1 1. Stage vs. nonstage t h e o r i e s 1 2. The Kendler and Kendler developmental view 2 3. Piaget's view of c o g n i t i v e development 8 The D i s c r i m i n a t i o n S h i f t Task and Conceptual Learning . 9 The P i a g e t i a n C l a s s i f i c a t i o n Tasks and Conceptual Learning 10 The R e l a t i o n s h i p between the Two Approaches 12 CHAPTER I I LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETICAL BACKGROUND 13 Theories Regarding Reversal S h i f t Behavior 14 1. The mediati o n a l hypothesis 14 2. A t t e n t i o n theory 16 3. Per c e p t u a l d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n 17 Studies of C l a s s i f i c a t i o n and M a t r i x Problems 18 1. P i a g e t i a n s t u d i e s of c l a s s i f i c a t i o n and matrix problems 18 2. Non-Piagetian s t u d i e s of c l a s s i f i c a t i o n and matrix problems 21 3. Vygotsky's views on c l a s s i f i c a t i o n 23 A Comparison of Viewpoints 24 Restatement of the Problem v. 26 CHAPTER I I I METHODOLOGY 28 V The Choice of Tasks 28 1. The matrix task 28 2. R e l a t i o n s h i p between the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n and matrix tasks 29 3. The c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task . , 31 4. The o p t i o n a l s h i f t task 32 5. R e l a t i o n s h i p between the s h i f t task and the matrix and c l a s s i f i c a t i o n tasks 34 Experimental Procedures 35 1. Subjects 35 2. M a t e r i a l 35 3. Procedure 39 Hypotheses and Design 43 CHAPTER IV RESULTS 44 CHAPTER V DISCUSSION 48 Explanation of Results 48 1. Lack of support f o r hypothesis 48 2. Agreement w i t h previous s t u d i e s 48 3. Another p o s s i b l e approach 50 Di f f e r e n c e s between the Kendler and P i a g e t i a n Tasks . . 50 1. Task format 50 2. V e r b a l requirements 51 Previous Studies Which Found a Lack of R e l a t i o n s h i p among Tasks 52 1. Smedslund 52 2. F l a v e l l and W o h l w i l l 53 v i 3. K l a h r and W a l l a c e 53 4. K o f s k y 54 5. Campione and Brown 55 The V a l u e o f F u r t h e r E x p l o r a t i o n o f t h e P r o b l e m . . . . 56 R e s u l t s o f I n d i v i d u a l T a s k s 57 1. The c l a s s i f i c a t i o n t a s k 58 2. The m a t r i x t a s k 59 3. The r e v e r s a l s h i f t t a s k 60 Summary 60 BIBLIOGRAPHY 62 v i i LIST OF TABLES page Table I Recoding of data f o r chi-square a n a l y s i s 45 Table I I The c o r r e c t e d chi-squares 45 Table I I I Frequency t a b l e s f o r the three tasks 46 v i i i LIST OF FIGURES page Figure 1 A s i n g l e - u n i t (a) and mediat i o n a l (b) S-R a n a l y s i s of r e v e r s a l and extradimensional s h i f t s 3 Figure 2 I l l u s t r a t i o n of the o p t i o n a l s h i f t RS-EDS design 3 Figure 3 Example of stimulus card f o r the o p t i o n a l r e v e r s a l s h i f t task 37 Figure 4 Examples of s i z e s and shapes used i n the matrix task . . . . 38 Figure 5 Card types used i n the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task 40 i x ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I would l i k e to acknowledge w i t h g r a t i t u d e the a s s i s t a n c e given by Dr. P a t r i c i a A r l i n i n the p r e p a r a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s . 1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION T h i s s t u d y was d e s i g n e d t o compare t h e p e r f o r m a n c e o f k i n d e r g a r t e n c h i l d r e n on two P i a g e t i a n c l a s s i f i c a t i o n t a s k s w i t h t h e i r p e r f o r m a n c e on a d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s h i f t t a s k o f the t y p e used by K e n d l e r and K e n d l e r (1969, 1972) . T h i s comparison was s u g g e s t e d by t h e f a c t t h a t b o t h P i a g e t and t h e K e n d l e r s have p r o p o s e d t h a t a major d e v e l o p m e n t a l change o c c u r s i n young c h i l d r e n ' s c o g n i t i v e p r o c e s s e s and t h e y have used t h e s e t a s k s among o t h e r s t o o b t a i n e v i d e n c e f o r t h e i r v i e w s . I d e a s R e g a r d i n g a D e v e l o p m e n t a l Change 1. Stage v s . Nonstage T h e o r i e s Many s t u d i e s o f c h i l d r e n ' s c o g n i t i v e development have f o c u s e d on the 5- t o 7-year age range as a p e r i o d when fu n d a m e n t a l changes seem t o o c c u r (Brown and B e r k o , 1960; K e n d l e r and K e n d l e r , 1962, 1963; Kuenne, 1946; P i a g e t and I n h e l d e r , 1969; R a z r a n , 1933; V y g o t s k y , 1962). Some t h e o r i s t s , p a r t i c u l a r l y P i a g e t and t h e Genevan s c h o o l , l i n k t h e s e changes t o t h e i d e a o f m a t u r a t i o n and an i n v a r i a n t sequence o f s t a g e s o f m e n t a l development. V a r i o u s n e o b e h a v i o u r i s t s , i n c l u d i n g G o l l i n and Sarav o ( 1 9 7 1 ) , K e n d l e r and K e n d l e r (1962) and White (1965), have i n f e r r e d t h a t q u a l i t a t i v e changes o c c u r a t c e r t a i n c r i t i c a l ages b u t have r e a c h e d no d e f i n i t e c o n c l u s i o n s about t h e n a t u r e o f t h e s e changes. I n c o n t r a s t t o t h e s e i s t h e p o s i t i o n o f G i b s o n (1969) and Zeaman and House (1963) . They b e l i e v e t h a t t h e same c o g n i t i v e p r o c e s s e s a r e o p e r a t i n g t h r o u g h o u t o n t o g e n e s i s . They do n o t agre e w i t h t h e n o t i o n o f s t a g e s o r sudden changes i n t h e c h i l d ' s m e n t a l a b i l i t i e s . 2 I n s t e a d t h e y see c o g n i t i v e change a s a g r a d u a l i n c r e a s e i n t h e c h i l d ' s a b i l i t y t o d i s c o v e r new r e l a t i o n s t h r o u g h h i s p e r c e p t u a l s y s t e m . 2 . The K e n d l e r and K e n d l e r D e v e l o p m e n t a l V i e w Among t h o s e who b e l i e v e t h a t t h e r e i s a d e v e l o p m e n t a l s h i f t i n c o g n i t i v e a b i l i t y i n c h i l d r e n , K e n d l e r and K e n d l e r ( 1 9 6 2 , 1970) h a v e done some o f t h e most e x t e n s i v e r e s e a r c h . Many o f t h e i r i n v e s t i g a t i o n s h a v e d e a l t w i t h d i s c r i m i n a t i o n l e a r n i n g u s i n g t h e r e v e r s a l - n o n r e v e r s a l s h i f t p r o c e d u r e . I n t h e s e t a s k s Ss a r e t r a i n e d w i t h s e t s o f s t i m u l i w h i c h d i f f e r i n a t l e a s t one d i m e n s i o n and a r e t h e n t e s t e d w i t h s e t s t h a t r e q u i r e them t o s h i f t t h e i r r e s p o n s e s e i t h e r t o a s e c o n d v a l u e o f t h e p r e v i o u s l y c o r r e c t d i m e n s i o n ( r e v e r s a l s h i f t ) o r t o a p r e v i o u s l y i r r e l e v a n t d i m e n s i o n (a n o n r e v e r s a l o r e x t r a d i m e n s i o n a l s h i f t ) . T h e i r s u b j e c t s i n c l u d e d s e v e r a l i n f r a h u m a n s p e c i e s , p r e s c h o o l c h i l d r e n a s young a s t h r e e y e a r s , s c h o o l c h i l d r e n o f d i f f e r e n t age g r o u p s and c o l l e g e s t u d e n t s . To e x p l a i n t h e i r f i n d i n g s t h e y p r o p o s e d a t w o - s t a g e t h e o r y o f d e v e l o p m e n t a l m e d i a t i o n . The e a r l y s t a g e i s e x p l a i n e d by t h e s i n g l e - u n i t m o d e l and t h e l a t e r one b y t h e m e d i a t i o n a l m o d e l a s shown i n F i g u r e 1 . The s i n g l e - u n i t m o d e l as shown i n F i g u r e 1(a ) d e s c r i b e s t h e l e a r n i n g s i t u a t i o n where t h e r e s p o n s e i s d i r e c t l y l i n k e d t o t h e s t i m u l u s . The s u b j e c t r e s p o n d s e i t h e r p o s i t i v e l y o r n e g a t i v e l y t o w h i t e o r b l a c k . An example o f s i n g l e - u n i t r e s p o n d i n g o c c u r s when a r a t c h o o s e s a w h i t e r a t h e r t h a n a b l a c k c o r r i d o r t o r e a c h t h e f o o d r e w a r d . , P r e v e r b a l c h i l d r e n a r e assumed t o f o l l o w t h e same m o d e l i n t h e i r c h o i c e r e s p o n s e s . T h e r e i s no i n t e r m e d i a t e t r a n s f o r m a t i o n o f t h e s t i m u l u s v a l u e s p r e c e d i n g t h e r e s p o n s e . As shown i n F i g u r e 1 , a r e v e r s a l s h i f t i s s i m p l y a s h i f t f r o m b l a c k t o w h i t e as t h e r e w a r d e d r e s p o n s e . I n t h e c a s e o f an e x t r a d i m e n s i o n a l s h i f t , SINGLE UNIT MODEL REVERSAL SHIFT EXTRADIMENSIONAL SHIFT FIGURE 1 A single-unit (a) and mediational (b) S-R analysis of reversal and extra-dimensional shifts. OPTIONAL TEST TRAINING SHIFT SERIES + + + • • + ^ • • • u Black Positive White and Small Positive Test Pair (Small vs. While + ~ • • White and Small Positive Figure 2. Illustration of the optional shift RS-EDS design. The two settings of training are randomly alternated as are left-right positions of the stimuli. After criterion on the optional shift phase, the two settings of the test series are presented alternately with position variable. 4 the new p o s i t i v e stimulus would be a value of a new dimension such as shape. In the example shown i t i s a " c i r c l e . " In e i t h e r case, there i s a s i n g l e l i n k between the stimulus and response; t h e r e f o r e , the theory s t a t e s t h a t the r e v e r s a l and extradimensional s h i f t s should be equal i n d i f f i c u l t y . A diagrammatic d e s c r i p t i o n of the mediational model i s shown i n Figure Kb). I t presents the s i t u a t i o n where the stimulus evokes a mediator such as "brightness." The mediated response serves i n t u r n as the stimulus f o r the choice responses of "black" or "white." For a r e v e r s a l s h i f t , the c o r r e c t response, "black," w i l l be replaced by "white" but the mediator remains the same. In the case of an extradimensional s h i f t , however, the new c o r r e c t response would come from another dimension and r e q u i r e a new mediator, i n t h i s case "shape." The new mediator then leads to a new a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h e i t h e r " c i r c l e " or " t r i a n g l e " as the c o r r e c t response. Because there i s a new l i n k i n the stimulus-response chain, i t i s assumed t h a t the extradimensional s h i f t i s more d i f f i c u l t when mediation i s i n v o l v e d . a. The s i n g l e - u n i t and m e d i a t i o n a l models. With infrahumans and young c h i l d r e n , l e a r n i n g i s s a i d to take place i n a s i n g l e - u n i t , nonmediational f a s h i o n . The s i n g l e - u n i t model gives r i s e to the p r e d i c t i o n that a r e v e r s a l s h i f t (RS) w i l l be more d i f f i c u l t to l e a r n than a nonreversal s h i f t (NRS) (Kendler, Hirschberg, and Wolford, 1971). This i s because an RS r e q u i r e s the replacement of a response t h a t has p r e v i o u s l y been r e i n f o r c e d w i t h a response t h a t p r e v i o u s l y has been ext i n g u i s h e d . In the NRS, previous t r a i n i n g has r e i n f o r c e d responses to the new p o s i t i v e and negative s t i m u l i e q u a l l y o f t e n . Only one of these a s s o c i a t i o n s must be extinguished and t h e r e f o r e the s h i f t should be e a s i e r . 5 The other model includes a mediational l i n k between the e x t e r n a l stimulus and the i n t e r n a l response. This l i n k i s conceived of as a v e r b a l or nonverbal response, u s u a l l y c o v e r t , to the r e l e v a n t dimension which produces cues t h a t lead to the overt response. The me d i a t i o n a l model p r e d i c t s a more r a p i d RS than NRS because of the common med i a t i o n a l l i n k during both pre- and p o s t s h i f t t r a i n i n g . The NRS r e q u i r e s e x t i n c t i o n of the f i r s t - l e a r n e d mediation and s u b s t i t u t i o n of a new one and thus should be more d i f f i c u l t . As p r e d i c t e d , c o l l e g e students and o l d e r c h i l d r e n execute an RS much f a s t e r than an NRS (Kendler and Kendler, 1962). The e s s e n t i a l d i f f e r e n c e between the two models i s t h a t i n the case of the s i n g l e - u n i t model the subject's behaviour i s a response to s p e c i f i c a t t r i b u t e s of the s t i m u l i w h i le i n the m e d i a t i o n a l model there i s a conceptual transformation or processing of the stimulus a t t r i b u t e s as instances of conceptual c a t e g o r i e s . b. The o p t i o n a l s h i f t task. Although the d i s c r i m i n a t i o n l e a r n i n g of very young c h i l d r e n and of c o l l e g e students seemed to f i t q u i t e w e l l i n t o these two models, there remained the question of when and how the s i n g l e -u n i t type o f l e a r n i n g becomes transformed t o the m e d i a t i o n a l type. The Kendlers undertook a number of studies aimed at throwong l i g h t on the o r i g i n s and operations of m e d i a t i o n a l mechanisms. A new technique of the o p t i o n a l s h i f t was devised which allowed a d i r e c t measure of performance of various age groups so t h a t developmental comparisons could be made. The o p t i o n a l s h i f t study i s conducted i n three phases (see Figure 2). In the example i l l u s t r a t e d , the i n i t i a l t r a i n i n g phase presents the • subjects w i t h two p a i r s of s t i m u l i which d i f f e r i n both s i z e and b r i g h t n e s s . One a t t r i b u t e of one dimension i s r e i n f o r c e d , i n t h i s case b l a c k . One p a i r 6 of the o r i g i n a l s t i m u l i i s used i n the second phase but white i s now the c o r r e c t choice. Since i n t h i s phase white i s a l s o the sm a l l s t i m u l u s , subjects may l e a r n to respond on the b a s i s of brightness (a r e v e r s a l s h i f t ) o r s i z e (a nonreversal s h i f t ) . The t h i r d phase then i s a t e s t phase i n which the p a i r used i n the second phase i s a l t e r n a t e d w i t h a d i f f e r e n t p a i r , such as la r g e white and small b l a c k . With the a d d i t i o n a l p a i r e i t h e r choice i s r e i n f o r c e d . I f the subject chooses the white stimulus on at l e a s t 8 out of 10 of the t e s t t r i a l s he i s c l a s s e d as a r e v e r s a l - s h i f t responder. But i f he chooses the small stimulus 8 out of 10 times, he i s considered a nonreversal responder. A l l d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s h i f t procedures i n c l u d i n g the o p t i o n a l - s h i f t technique have provided i n t e r e s t i n g data i n the area of developmental and c u l t u r a l d i f f e r e n c e s . Perhaps t h e i r c h i e f value i s t h a t they can be used to study a b a s i c type of l e a r n i n g t h a t i s found i n animals and i n human subjects of a l l ages. The general method has been derived from procedures widely used i n animal experimentation. Mechanical means of d i s p l a y i n g s t i m u l i , r e g i s t e r i n g responses and p r o v i d i n g feedback e l i m i n a t e the need f o r v e r b a l explanations on the p a r t of the experimenter or of v e r b a l responses on the p a r t of the sub j e c t . This f e a t u r e can e l i m i n a t e a very important confounding f a c t o r i n l e a r n i n g t a s k s , namely, v e r b a l competence (Braine, 1962) . Another advantage of t h i s type o f task i s t h a t very simple elements can be used as s t i m u l i . As a r e s u l t , the same task can be used to compare the l e a r n i n g of very young c h i l d r e n w i t h o l d e r c h i l d r e n and of normal w i t h retarded s u b j e c t s . At the same time, the d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s h i f t task i s adaptable to a wide v a r i e t y of s t i m u l i such as words and p i c t u r e s 7 and to s t i m u l i of va r y i n g complexity. As w i t h many tasks used to study l e a r n i n g and development, i t has been found t h a t there i s more i n v o l v e d i n s h i f t tasks than was o r i g i n a l l y b e l i e v e d . A number of f a c t o r s have been suggested as having a bearing on d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s h i f t performance: e.g., pe r c e p t u a l p r e t r a i n i n g (Tighe, 1972), o v e r t r a i n i n g (Eimas, 1966), v e r b a l i z a t i o n (Kendler, 1964; Mumbauer and Odom, 1967), cue dominance (Kendler, 1974), compound v s . component l e a r n i n g (Tighe, 1972), hypothesis t e s t i n g (Gholson, O'Connor and S t e r n , 1976). In ge n e r a l , there appears t o be a considerable range of both per c e p t u a l and c o g n i t i v e f a c t o r s which may be operating i n a d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s h i f t problem and presumably more of the l a t t e r w i t h o l d e r s u b j e c t s . But the more these f a c t o r s can be recognized and c o n t r o l l e d , the more the value to be found i n t h i s approach. The Kendlers (1975) have reviewed many stu d i e s which are i n general agreement w i t h t h e i r own as w e l l as some which have obtained d i f f e r e n t p a t t e r n s of r e s u l t s . In the stu d i e s which disagreed, they have pointed out methodological v a r i a t i o n s which may account f o r the d i f f e r e n c e . In many cases they have r e p l i c a t e d t h e i r c r i t i c s ' work to c o n t r o l the v a r i a b l e b e l i e v e d r e s p o n s i b l e f o r the d i s p a r i t y and have obtained r e s u l t s i n keeping w i t h t h e i r previous work. The large body of accumulated data i s impressive. I t i s strong evidence t h a t the s h i f t d i s c r i m i n a t i o n task i s a v a l i d and r e l i a b l e t o o l w i t h which to study human l e a r n i n g . Using the o p t i o n a l - s h i f t technique, Kendler and Kendler (1968, 1970) amassed considerable evidence which showed th a t the tendency to make a r e v e r s a l s h i f t r a t h e r than an extradimensional s h i f t increased as a f u n c t i o n of age, w i t h an a c c e l e r a t e d change i n the 5- to 7-year age range. Their view of a developmental s h i f t o c c u r r i n g i n these years was supported 8 by a number of other r e s e a r c h e r s , notably, Cole (1973), Tighe, G l i c k and Cole (1971), and Tighe and Tighe (1968, 1973). 3. Piaget's View of Ch i l d r e n ' s C o g n i t i v e Development Meanwhile, P i a g e t and h i s co-workers i n Geneva have formulated a more extensive stage theory encompassing the years from infancy t o adoles-cence or e a r l y adulthood. P i a g e t (1964) describes a p r e o p e r a t i o n a l stage which corresponds approximately to the p e r i o d between 2 and 6 years. I t i s d e f i n e d c h i e f l y by the absence of c e r t a i n c o g n i t i v e operations such as s e r i a t i o n , c o n s e r v a t i o n , t r a n s i t i v i t y and c l a s s i n c l u s i o n . I t i s followed by the concrete o p e r a t i o n a l stage i n which the c h i l d begins to acquire competence i n these l o g i c a l operations. Between these major stages there i s a t r a n s i t i o n p e r i o d which occurs g e n e r a l l y somewhere between 5 and 7 years. In the e a r l i e r stage the c h i l d i s s a i d to base h i s d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s and c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s on pe r c e p t u a l p r o p e r t i e s . He can perform various tasks without understanding the und e r l y i n g p r i n c i p l e . He cannot y et give an adequate v e r b a l d e s c r i p t i o n of h i s behaviour nor can he r e c o n s t r u c t the problem. Inhelder and P i a g e t r e f e r to t h i s as sensorimotor l e a r n i n g and say t h a t i t " i n v o l v e s the t r a n s f e r of a perceptual c o n t r a s t on the b a s i s of reinforcement by success" (1964, p. 123). In the t r a n s i t i o n p e r i o d t h a t f o l l o w s there i s a q u a l i t a t i v e change i n the way the c h i l d p e r c e i v e s , oranizes and responds to the p h y s i c a l events i n h i s environment. According to P i a g e t t h i s change comes about as a r e s u l t of a change i n the c o g n i t i v e s t r u c t u r e s , or network of concepts of the child.... The c o g n i t i v e s t r u c t u r e s d e a l w i t h the b a s i c sensory data r e c e i v e d from the environment through the process t h a t P i a g e t r e f e r s t o as a s s i m i l a t i o n . At the same time, the c o g n i t i v e s t r u c t u r e s are being reorganized to deal w i t h the knowledge t h a t 9 i s being a s s i m i l a t e d . The outstanding change t h a t appears to occur as the c h i l d moves from the p r e o p e r a t i o n a l to the concrete o p e r a t i o n a l stage i s th a t the can represent and deal w i t h h i s a c t i o n s i n t e r n a l l y . As a r e s u l t , he i s able to handle inverse a c t i o n s or negations and thereby achieve r e v e r s i b i l i t y i n l o g i c a l o perations. This a b i l i t y allows the c h i l d among other things to coordinate two dimensions a t once i n a m u l t i p l e - c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task or a double-entry matrix (Inhelder and P i a g e t , 1964). Piag e t has examined c h i l d r e n ' s performance on a wide range of tasks as evidence f o r h i s stage theory of c o g n i t i v e development. In doing so he has used an e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t method from t h a t of the b e h a v i o u r i s t s , namely, a c l i n i c a l or anecdotal approach. I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g then t h a t there i s t h i s agreement between Piag e t and the Kendlers t h a t at a c e r t a i n age a fundamental change takes p l a c e i n c h i l d r e n ' s t h i n k i n g and problem-solving a b i l i t i e s . The question a r i s e s as to whether or not they are both basing t h e i r developmental hypotheses on the same phenomena observed from t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e viewpoints. The D i s c r i m i n a t i o n S h i f t Task and Conceptual Learning Kendler and Kendler (1975) have discussed the d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s h i f t task as a method of studying the development of conceptual processes. They p o i n t out th a t i f a subject can make a common response to a set of d i s s i m i l a r s t i m u l i , i t has been concluded t h a t he i s capable of forming concepts. But Osgood (1953) objected to t h i s c o n c l u s i o n because he found i t questionable t h a t a r a t could understand an a b s t r a c t concept l i k e 10 t r i a n g u l a r i t y . Osgood b e l i e v e d t h a t a true concept was the r e s u l t of a mediated symbolic r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of a set of common f e a t u r e s . This i s the view adopted by the Kendlers. The developmental change th a t the Kendlers see o c c u r r i n g between s i n g l e - u n i t and mediatio n a l f u n c t i o n i n g i s a s h i f t from responding to d i s c r e t e s t i m u l i to a processing of s t i m u l i as instances of conceptual c a t e g o r i e s . In a d d i t i o n , the Kendlers have incorporated the S a l t z and S i g e l (1967) enlargement hypothesis of conceptual development i n t o t h e i r m ediational model. They suggest t h a t the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n behaviour of young c h i l d r e n a t the s i n g l e - u n i t l e v e l i s guided by stimulus g e n e r a l i z a t i o n . As c h i l d r e n develop and move to the mediatio n a l l e v e l , t h e i r symbolic r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s lead them to make narrow concepts at f i r s t but i n time t h e i r concepts become broader. To support t h e i r p o s i t i o n t h a t there i s an ontogeny of d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s h i f t behaviour and t h a t conceptual r a t h e r than p e r c e p t u a l processes are r e s p o n s i b l e , the Kendlers (Kendler, Kendler and Sanders, 1967) undertook a s e r i e s of stu d i e s using v e r b a l s t i m u l i . V erbal s t i m u l i presumably avoided the e f f e c t of s e l e c t i v e a t t e n t i o n . They found t h a t r e l a t e d words from a common conceptual category are e a s i e r to reverse than un r e l a t e d words. The P i a g e t i a n C l a s s i f i c a t i o n Tasks and Conceptual Learning Turning now to Piaget's research, i t i s p o s s i b l e t h a t c e r t a i n of h i s c l a s s i f i c a t i o n tasks are probing the same l e v e l of conceptual processing t h a t the Kendlers have s t u d i e d by the s h i f t paradigm. Inhelder 11 and P i a g e t (1959) described an ordering of c l a s s i f i c a t i o n tasks i n 11 steps, of which two appear to be most s i m i l a r i n t h e i r task requirements to the d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s h i f t paradigm. These two are the c r o s s - c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task and the matrix i n i t s simplest two-entry form. These tasks r e q u i r e the c h i l d to deal w i t h two dimensions at once. I f , f o r i n s t a n c e , he can deal w i t h a l l o f the instances o f co l o u r as instances o f the concept "colour" and a l l of the shapes as instances of "form," he w i l l t h e o r e t i c a l l y be able to achieve c o r r e c t c r o s s - c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s using these c a t e g o r i e s . The same use of conceptual dimensions i s r e q u i r e d i n the matrix task, w i t h the added d i f f i c u l t y , according to P i a g e t , t h a t the two dimensions must be considered simultaneously. The d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s h i f t task uses the same s o r t of s t i m u l i as those used i n the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n t a s k s . In the f i r s t phase of the task, the s u b j e c t can l e a r n t o perform c o r r e c t l y e i t h e r by a p e r c e p t u a l response to p a r t i c u l a r instances of a category or by noting the conceptual category which i s rewarded, e.g., c o l o u r . In the case of the o p t i o n a l s h i f t v e r s i o n of the tas k , he w i l l then give a c l e a r i n d i c a t i o n t h a t the co l o u r category was used by choosing the other colour i n the r e v e r s a l phase of the task. I f he chooses a r e v e r s a l s h i f t , i t can be s a i d t h a t he i s usin g the same conceptual category as a b a s i s f o r h i s choice throughout the task. However, i f the subject chooses the nonreversal or extradimensional s h i f t , he i s sw i t c h i n g from one dimension to another and we cannot be sure what method of s o l u t i o n he i s using. 12 The R e l a t i o n s h i p between the Two Approaches According to Pia g e t ' s theory, one of the c r i t e r i a which d e f i n e the change i n the c h i l d ' s c o g n i t i v e development from p r e o p e r a t i o n a l to concrete o p e r a t i o n a l t h i n k i n g i s the f i r m understanding of c l a s s p r o p e r t i e s . This understanding i s shown i n the a b i l i t y to s o r t objects i n t o groups using the dimensions c o n s i s t e n t l y and a l s o i n the a b i l i t y to change dimensions and s o r t the objects another way. The c h i l d who does not understand c l a s s i f i c a t i o n w i l l make such mistakes as forming a p i c t u r e out of the o b j e c t s , or changing the b a s i s of the grouping before completing the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n , or s o r t i n g according to a l l dimensions simultaneously and ig n o r i n g i n s t r u c t i o n s to form two p i l e s . A c h i l d ' s performance on the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task should t e l l us something about h i s stage l e v e l i n the 5- to 8-year age p e r i o d . From the Kendlers' viewpoint the c h i l d ' s r e v e r s a l s h i f t behaviour i s a l s o i n d i c a t i v e of a change to a mediational and more a b s t r a c t l e v e l of processing. I f these hypothesized developmental changes have v a l i d i t y , one would expect t h a t the c h i l d who has a t t a i n e d a concrete o p e r a t i o n a l l e v e l i n terms of P i a g e t i a n c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s would be l i k e l y to p r e f e r a r e v e r s a l s h i f t i n an o p t i o n a l d i s c r i m i n a t i o n task. Conversely, the c h i l d who has reached the conceptual l e v e l where he chooses the op t i o n of a r e v e r s a l s h i f t should be more l i k e l y t o perform w e l l on c r o s s - c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s and matri x t a s k s . The problem then t h a t w i l l be i n v e s t i g a t e d i n t h i s study i s whether or not a r e l a t i o n s h i p can be found between the r e v e r s a l s h i f t performance of kindergarten c h i l d r e n and t h e i r performance on the c l a s s i f i -c a t i o n and matrix tasks of P i a g e t . 13 CHAPTER I I LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETICAL BACKGROUND T h i s r e v i e w o f t h e l i t e r a t u r e w i l l d e a l f i r s t w i t h t h r e e i m p o r t a n t t h e o r e t i c a l v i e w s r e g a r d i n g d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s h i f t b e h a v i o u r . I t w i l l t h e n d e a l w i t h s t u d i e s c o n c e r n e d w i t h t h e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n and m a t r i x t a s k s done by P i a g e t i a n s and n o h - P i a g e t i a n s . A s h o r t d e s c r i p t i o n o f V y g o t s k y ' s v i e w o f c l a s s i f i c a t i o n i s a l s o i n c l u d e d . D i s c r i m i n a t i o n s h i f t t a s k s have b e e n u s e d e x t e n s i v e l y by n e b e h a v i o u r i s t s i n t h e p a s t two d e c a d e s t o s t u d y l e a r n i n g p r o c e s s e s . I n some c a s e s , o l d e r t h e o r i e s h a v e b e e n c a l l e d upon t o e x p l a i n t h e phenomena u n c o v e r e d b u t t h e u s e o f t h e s e t a s k s h a s a l s o s t i m u l a t e d t h e f o r m a t i o n o f new h y p o t h e s e s and t h e o r i e s . The t h r e e most s i g n i f i c a n t t h e o r e t i c a l v i e w p o i n t s w i l l be r e v i e w e d h e r e . They a r e : t h e m e d i a t i o n a l h y p o t h e s i s o f K e n d l e r and K e n d l e r ; t h e a t t e n t i o n t h e o r y v i e w p o i n t w h i c h h a s b e e n e l a b o r a t e d b y Zeaman and House ( 1 9 6 3 , 1974) and o t h e r s ; and t h e p e r c e p t u a l d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n h y p o t h e s i s p r o p o s e d by T i g h e and T i g h e ( 1 9 6 8 ) . P i a g e t i a n s t u d i e s o f c l a s s i f i c a t i o n and m a t r i x p e r f o r m a n c e go b a c k t o t h e I n h e l d e r and P i a g e t a n a l y s i s o f 1 9 5 9 . T h e r e have b e e n e f f o r t s s i n c e by a d h e r e n t s o f t h e P i a g e t i a n s c h o o l , s u c h a s S m e d s l u n d (1964) and K o f s k y (1966) t o d e v e l o p more s t a n d a r d i z e d v e r s i o n s o f t h e s e t a s k s and t h e r e b y e x t e n d t h e i r u s e f u l n e s s f o r c o m p a r a t i v e s t u d i e s . A t t h e same t i m e , t r a d i t i o n a l l e a r n i n g t h e o r i s t s have u s e d t h e i r e x p e r i m e n t a l methods w i t h P i a g e t i a n t a s k s and h a v e i n many c a s e s d i s p u t e d P i a g e t ' s c o n c l u s i o n s ( B r u n e r and K e n n e y , 1 9 6 6 ; Odom, 1 9 7 8 ; O v e r t o n and B r o d z i n s k y , ( 1 9 7 2 ) . The R u s s i a n t h e o r i s t , V y g o t s k y (1962) , h a s a l s o c o n t r i b u t e d much t o i d e a s a b o u t c l a s s i f i c a t i o n b e h a v i o u r . H i s a n a l y s i s s u g g e s t s a r e a s o f 14 a g r e e m e n t w i t h t h e P i a g e t i a n c o n s t r u c t i v i s t v i e w and w i t h t h e K e n d l e r s ' m e d i a t i o n a l v i e w . T h e o r i e s R e g a r d i n g R e v e r s a l S h i f t B e h a v i o u r 1 . The M e d i a t i o n a l H y p o t h e s i s Numerous e x p e r i m e n t s i n t h e f i f t i e s and s i x t i e s , e . g . , B u s s ( 1 9 5 6 ) , K e l l e h e r ( 1 9 5 6 ) , K e n d l e r and D 'Amato ( 1 9 5 5 ) , K e n d l e r , K e n d l e r and W e l l s ( 1 9 6 0 ) , r e v e a l e d t h e d i f f e r e n c e s i n d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s h i f t b e h a v i o u r b e t w e e n age g r o u p s and b e t w e e n a d u l t humans and a n i m a l s . The l e a r n i n g b e h a v i o u r o f v a r i o u s a n i m a l s p e c i e s and y o u n g c h i l d r e n had a l r e a d y b e e n a c c o u n t e d f o r i n b e h a v i o u r i s t t e r m s by S p e n c e ' s (1936) c o n t i n u i t y t h e o r y . T h i s t h e o r y assumed t h a t l e a r n i n g i n a m u l t i t r i a l s i t u a t i o n was c o n t i n u o u s , t h a t e a c h c o r r e c t r e s p o n s e i n c r e a s e d t h e t e n d e n c y t o make t h a t c o r r e c t c h o i c e a g a i n . B u t i f r e i n f o r c e m e n t c o n t i n g e n c i e s were r e v e r s e d d u r i n g t h e p r e s o l u t i o n p e r i o d , c o n t i n u i t y t h e o r y w o u l d p r e d i c t t h a t p r o b l e m s o l u t i o n w o u l d be r e t a r d e d . H o w e v e r , Kuenne (1946) showed t h a t c o n t i n u i t y t h e o r y c o u l d p r e d i c t t h e d i s c r i m i n a t i o n l e a r n i n g o f " p r e v e r b a l " c h i l d r e n b u t n o t o f " v e r b a l " c h i l d r e n . B u s s (1956) f o u n d t h a t c o l l e g e s t u d e n t s l e a r n e d a r e v e r s a l s h i f t f a s t e r t h a n an e x t r a d i m e n s i o n a l (o r n o n r e v e r s a l ) s h i f t . Spence (1956) h i m s e l f a g r e e d t h a t h i s m o d e l a p p l i e d o n l y t o n o n a r t i c u l a t e o r g a n i s m s . The m e d i a t i o n a l m o d e l o f d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s h i f t b e h a v i o u r was f o r m u l a t e d b y K e n d l e r and K e n d l e r (1962) t o a c c o u n t f o r t h e s u p e r i o r i t y o f r e v e r s a l o v e r n o n r e v e r s a l s h i f t s f o r s c h o o l c h i l d r e n and a d u l t s . The m e d i a t i o n a l S - R h y p o t h e s i s s a y s t h a t t h e t e n d e n c y t o m e d i a t e d i s c r i m i n a t i o n l e a r n i n g i n c r e a s e s w i t h a g e . C h i l d r e n o f n u r s e r y s c h o o l age s o l v e d i s c r i m i n a t i o n p r o b l e m s by u s i n g " a s i n g l e - u n i t mechan ism i n w h i c h 15 r e s p o n s e s a r e u n d e r d i r e c t c o n t r o l o f e x t e r n a l s t i m u l a t i o n " w h i l e o l d e r s u b j e c t s make u s e o f " a m e d i a t i o n a l mechan ism i n w h i c h b e h a v i o u r i s c o n t r o l l e d by s e l f - g e n e r a t e d s y m b o l i c c u e s t h a t r e p r e s e n t c o n c e p t u a l c a t e g o r i e s " ( K e n d l e r , K e n d l e r and W a r d , 1 9 7 2 , p . 1 0 2 ) . The n a t u r e o f t h e m e d i a t i o n a l p r o c e s s was l e f t o p e n - e n d e d b u t t h e K e n d l e r s h a v e s u g g e s t e d t h a t a s e t o f d i f f e r e n t mechan isms m i g h t be i n v o l v e d , a l l o f them t r a n s f o r m i n g i n c o m i n g s t i m u l i i n v a r i o u s w a y s . The K e n d l e r s do n o t s a y w h e t h e r t h e age t r e n d o c c u r s b e c a u s e o f a change i n c a p a c i t y o r a s a m a t t e r o f p r e f e r e n c e . They a l s o do n o t s p e c i f y a p a r t i c u l a r age when t h e c h i l d moves f r o m s i n g l e - u n i t t o m e d i a t i o n a l f u n c t i o n i n g . T h e i r s t u d i e s , h o w e v e r , have i n d i c a t e d t h a t f o r t h e a v e r a g e A m e r i c a n c h i l d t h e r e i s an a c c e l e r a t e d i n c r e a s e i n r e v e r s a l r e s p o n d i n g s t a r t i n g i n k i n d e r g a r t e n . E v i d e n c e f o r t h i s d e v e l o p m e n t a l p r o g r e s s i o n was o b t a i n e d i n s t u d i e s u s i n g g e o m e t r i c s t i m u l i , t h e f i r s t w i t h c h i l d r e n 3 . 6 t o 1 0 . 4 y e a r s ( K e n d l e r , K e n d l e r and L e a r n a r d , 1962) and t h e s e c o n d w i t h c h i l d r e n 5 . 8 t o 19 y e a r s ( K e n d l e r and K e n d l e r , 1 9 7 1 ) . K e n d l e r and K e n d l e r (1968) a r g u e d t h a t where s y m b o l i c m e d i a t i o n o c c u r s , t h e o p t i o n a l r e v e r s a l s h i f t s h o u l d be t h e m o s t l i k e l y r e s p o n s e due t o t h e a r o u s a l o f t h e h a b i t f a m i l y h i e r a r c h w h i c h i n c r e a s e s t h e p r o b a b i l i t y o f r e s p o n s e t o a l l members o f t h e h i e r a r c h y ( H u l l , 1 9 4 3 ) . The p o s i t i v e s t i m u l u s g a i n s i n s t r e n g t h b e c a u s e i t i s r e i n f o r c e d . When r e i n f o r c e m e n t c e a s e s , t h e o t h e r member o f t h e h i e r a r c h y , t h e p r e v i o u s l y n e g a t i v e s t i m u l u s , i s t h e o n l y f e a s i b l e a l t e r n a t i v e . I n t h e i r f i r s t d e v e l o p m e n t a l s t u d y w i t h t h i s t e c h n i q u e K e n d l e r and K e n d l e r ( K e n d l e r , K e n d l e r and L e a r n a r d , 1962) u s e d g e o m e t r i c p a t t e r n s v a r y i n g i n b r i g h t n e s s and s i z e . They f o u n d t h a t t h e p r o p o r t i o n o f o p t i o n a l 16 RS increased s i g n i f i c a n t l y from 3.6 to 10.4 years of age. In a second study (Kendler and Kendler, 1971) the stimulus compounds used were colour-form, c o l o u r - s i z e , and size-form. Results were e s s e n t i a l l y s i m i l a r f o r each compound and the combined data were s i m i l a r to the f i r s t study. A d d i t i o n a l data i n a subsequent study (Kendler and Ward, 1972) i n d i c a t e d a mathematical r e l a t i o n s h i p : t h a t the p r o b a b i l i t y of an o p t i o n a l r e v e r s a l s h i f t i s a l i n e a r f u n c t i o n of the logarithm of age (between 3.6 and 19.8 y e a r s ) . This f i n d i n g gave support f o r the view t h a t the s i n g l e - u n i t c o n t i n u i t y model of d i s c r i m i n a t i o n l e a r n i n g may be v a l i d f o r the very e a r l y years but w i t h i n c r e a s i n g age there i s an i n c r e a s i n g l i k e l i h o o d t h a t the c h i l d ' s performance w i l l f i t the m e d i a t i o n a l model. 2. A t t e n t i o n Theory A d i f f e r e n t view of d i s c r i m i n a t i o n l e a r n i n g has been put forward by the a t t e n t i o n t h e o r i s t s , e.g., MacKintosh (1965), Sutherland (1959), Trabasso and Bower (1968) and Zeaman and House (1963). These t h e o r i s t s g e n e r a l l y agree t h a t l e a r n i n g i s l a r g e l y a matter of a t t e n t i o n to r e l e v a n t s t i m u l i . They a l s o agree t h a t a t t e n t i o n i s t r a i n a b l e and t h a t c h i l d r e n can be taught to attend to r e l e v a n t cues i n order to perform more e f f i c i e n t l y on d i s c r i m i n a t i o n or conceptual t a s k s . S p e c i f i c c r i t i c i s m s of the Kendler theory have been made by Zeaman and House (1963) who formulated the mediational a t t e n t i o n theory. One primary assumption of t h e i r model was t h a t d i s c r i m i n a t i o n l e a r n i n g has two components, the f i r s t a t t e n t i o n a l , the second an inst r u m e n t a l choice response. In t h e i r study w i t h r e t a r d a t e s they hypothesized t h a t v a r i a t i o n s i n speed of l e a r n i n g were due to d i f f e r e n c e s i n the r a t e of l e a r n i n g to attend to the r e l e v a n t dimension and not to d i f f e r e n c e s i n the r a t e of 17 l e a r n i n g a s s o c i a t i o n s b e t w e e n t h e r e l e v a n t c u e s and t h e c o r r e c t c h o i c e r e a c t i o n . T h i s h y p o t h e s i s was s u p p o r t e d by a number o f s t u d i e s w h i c h compared i n t r a d i m e n s i o n a l w i t h e x t r a d i m e n s i o n a l s h i f t s ( C a m p i o n e , Hyman and Zeaman, 1 9 6 5 ; D i c k e r s o n , 1 9 6 6 ; Mumbauer and Odom, 1 9 6 6 ) . The m e d i a t i o n a l a t t e n t i o n t h e o r y assumed t h a t a t t e n t i o n p r o c e s s e s were i n d e p e n d e n t o f d e v e l o p m e n t ( E i m a s , 1 9 6 7 ) . Campione (1970) c o n c l u d e d t h a t h i s r e s u l t s were " i n c o n s i s t e n t w i t h t h e n o t i o n t h a t t h e r e e x i s t s an o n t o g e n y o f s h i f t b e h a v i o u r . " H i s m e t h o d o l o g y was c r i t i c i z e d by t h e K e n d l e r s b e c a u s e i t i n c l u d e d s p e c i a l t r a i n i n g f o r s u b j e c t s who f a i l e d t h e i n i t i a l d i s c r i m i n a t i o n . T h e i r r e p l i c a t i o n o f h i s s t u d y w i t h o u t t h e s p e c i a l t r a i n i n g p r o c e d u r e s f o r s l o w l e a r n e r s p r o v i d e d s t r o n g e v i d e n c e f o r d e v e l o p m e n t a l changes ( K e n d l e r , K e n d l e r and W a r d , 1 9 7 2 ) . 3 . P e r c e p t u a l D i f f e r e n t i a t i o n A n o t h e r s c h o o l o f t h o u g h t r e g a r d i n g d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s h i f t b e h a v i o u r h a s b e e n d e r i v e d f r o m G i b s o n ' s ( 1 9 5 0 , 1959) p e r c e p t u a l t h e o r y . T i g h e and T i g h e (1968) p r o p o s e d a p e r c e p t u a l d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n h y p o t h e s i s w h i c h s a i d t h a t a s u b j e c t ' s a b i l i t y t o d i f f e r e n t i a t e t h e r e l e v a n t d i m e n s i o n f r o m t h e t o t a l p e r c e p t u a l f i e l d w o u l d a f f e c t h i s a b i l i t y t o e x e c u t e a r e v e r s a l s h i f t . T h i s v i e w was s u p p o r t e d by s t u d i e s i n w h i c h d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n t r a i n i n g e m p h a s i z i n g t h e p e r c e p t u a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f t h e r e l e v a n t d i m e n s i o n was f o u n d t o f a c i l i t a t e a r e v e r s a l s h i f t ( M c C o n n e l l , 1 9 6 4 ; T i g h e , 1 9 6 5 ) . S t u d i e s by J o h n s o n and W h i t e (1967) a l s o showed a c o r r e l a t i o n b e t w e e n c h i l d r e n ' s a b i l i t y t o d i f f e r e n t i a t e s t i m u l u s v a l u e s and t h e i r t e n d e n c y t o c h o o s e a r e v e r s a l s h i f t . The p e r c e p t u a l d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n f o r m u l a t i o n s u p p o r t s t h e v i e w t h a t t h e r e i s an o n t o g e n y o f d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s h i f t b e h a v i o u r . I t assumes t h a t 18 t h e r e a r e d e v e l o p m e n t a l c h a n g e s i n a b i l i t y t o d i f f e r e n t i a t e a t t r i b u t e s o f s t i m u l u s a r r a y s . A s c h i l d r e n grow o l d e r t h e y a r e s a i d t o have an i n c r e a s i n g c a p a c i t y t o i s o l a t e and u s e t h e r e l e v a n t d i m e n s i o n i n d i s c r i m i n a t i o n p r o b l e m s and a s a r e s u l t a r e more l i k e l y t o make r e v e r s a l s h i f t s . K e n d l e r and K e n d l e r (1975) a p p e a r t o a c c e p t t h e p e r c e p t u a l d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n v i e w as b a s i c a l l y i n a g r e e m e n t w i t h t h e i r own m o d e l . T h e r e i s one i s s u e on w h i c h t h e y d i s a g r e e and t h a t i s " w h e t h e r p e r c e p t u a l r e s p o n s e s a r e s u f f i c i e n t t o e x p l a i n t h e o n t o g e n y o f d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s h i f t b e h a v i o u r . " They f e e l t h a t a p p r o p r i a t e p e r c e p t u a l d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n may be n e c e s s a r y b u t i t i s n o t s u f f i c i e n t . I n a s t u d y ( K e n d l e r , G l a s m a n and W a r d , 1972) w i t h p r e s c h o o l c h i l d r e n w h i c h compared v e r b a l - l a b e l t r a i n i n g w i t h c u e - t r a i n i n g t h e y f o u n d t h a t b o t h p r o c e d u r e s i m p r o v e d r e v e r s a l s h i f t s compared t o a c o n t r o l g r o u p b u t t h e v e r b a l - l a b e l g r o u p was s u p e r i o r . They a r g u e t h a t t h e v e r b a l l a b e l p r o v i d e s a c o g n i t i v e o p e r a t o r t o m e d i a t e t h e r e v e r s a l s h i f t . P e r c e p t u a l d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n may be r e q u i r e d f o r t h i s p r o c e s s b u t does n o t by i t s e l f g u a r a n t e e t h a t any m e d i a t i o n w i l l o c c u r . S t u d i e s o f C l a s s i f i c a t i o n and M a t r i x P r o b l e m s 1 . P i a g e t i a n S t u d i e s o f C l a s s i f i c a t i o n and M a t r i x P r o b l e m s The d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s h i f t t a s k s h a v e b e e n one a p p r o a c h t o t h e p r o b l e m o f how c h i l d r e n p r o g r e s s i n t h e i r c o n c e p t u a l t h i n k i n g . The s p e c i f i c q u e s t i o n a d d r e s s e d i s how c h i l d r e n come t o r e c o g n i z e t h a t t h e same o b j e c t c a n b e l o n g t o d i f f e r e n t g r o u p s d e p e n d i n g upon w h i c h a t t r i b u t e s a r e r e l e v a n t . C l a s s i f i c a t i o n t a s k s a r e a n o t h e r a p p r o a c h t o t h i s p r o b l e m . They have b e e n s t u d i e d i n d e p t h by P i a g e t and o t h e r s u s i n g h i s t e c h n i q u e s ( I n h e l d e r and 19 P i a g e t , 1959; Kofsky, 1966; Smedslund, 1964). Piag e t regards c l a s s i f i c a t i o n problems as i n t i m a t e l y r e l a t e d to problems of inference i n general because c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s depend upon "the a b s t r a c t i o n of unambiguous c r i t e r i a , " i . e . , the p a r t i c u l a r a t t r i b u t e s t h a t define the c l a s s . He b e l i e v e s t h a t c h i l d r e n a r r i v e at t h e i r understanding of c l a s s i f i c a t i o n by the a c t i o n s they carry out w i t h a c t u a l o b j e c t s or by " v i r t u a l a c t i o n s " performed " i n the c h i l d ' s head" (Inhelder and P i a g e t , 1964). Inhelder and P i a g e t (1959) hypothesized t h a t c l a s s i f i c a t i o n a b i l i t y develops i n a sequence of 11 steps. They explained t h a t c h i l d r e n begin to c l a s s i f y by p u t t i n g together two objects t h a t look a l i k e i n some way. In other words, they simply use the p e r c e p t u a l f e a t u r e s . The next step i s c o n s i s t e n t s o r t i n g and extending the group beyond two o b j e c t s . This i s f o l l o w e d by exhaustive s o r t i n g . These simpler s k i l l s are the foundation f o r f u r t h e r steps which represent a considerable advance i n a b i l i t y . In order to d e a l w i t h m u l t i p l e c l a s s membership the c h i l d must recognize t h a t objects may belong to more than one category. When he can use f i r s t one and then another a t t r i b u t e as the b a s i s f o r grouping, he i s able to handle " h o r i z o n t a l c l a s s i f i c a t i o n . " The f i n a l steps are the a c q u i s i t i o n of h e i r a r c h i c a l c l a s s i f i c a t i o n and c l a s s i n c l u s i o n a b i l i t i e s . Progress up these steps extends over the childhood years s t a r t i n g i n the p r e o p e r a t i o n a l p e r i o d and c o n t i n u i n g through the concrete o p e r a t i o n a l stage. Kofsky (1966) undertook to t e s t P i a g e t ' s theory t h a t there i s a f i x e d order i n which c l a s s i f i c a t o r y concepts are acquired. She t r a n s l a t e d the 11 steps i n t o tasks which used geometric bl o c k s of 3 shapes and 4 c o l o u r s . Her subjects were 4-9 years o l d . She found t h a t her r e s u l t s confirmed the order of d i f f i c u l t y of the steps. However, there was no s e t 20 order of mastery of tasks such t h a t f a i l u r e on one task was fo l l o w e d by f a i l u r e on a l l of the more d i f f i c u l t ones. The subjects who f a i l e d the h o r i z o n t a l r e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n t e s t (which c a l l e d f o r s o r t i n g o b j e c t s i n d i f f e r e n t ways according to d i f f e r e n t a t t r i b u t e s ) d i d so because they could not form c o n s i s t e n t c l a s s e s or because they could not execute the r u l e s p e c i f i c to the task. The younger c h i l d r e n who f a i l e d were not always the i n c o n s i s t e n t s o r t e r s . Younger subjects were b e t t e r than p r e d i c t e d i n forming more than one task a t a time. Kofsky's r e s u l t s d i d not d i s c o n f i r m Piaget's broad o u t l i n e of c l a s s i f i c a t i o n development but d i d question i t i n s p e c i f i c s because i n many i n d i v i d u a l cases the p r e d i c t e d sequence was not obtained. Two experiments by Kofsky and Osier (1967) d e a l t s p e c i f i c a l l y w i t h questions a r i s i n g out of the h o r i z o n t a l r e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n problem: when do c h i l d r e n acquire the a b i l i t y t o de a l w i t h two dimensions a t a time and what p a r t i c u l a r features cause d i f f i c u l t y ? T h e i r subjects were three groups of c h i l d r e n , aged 5, 8, and 11. Three sets of geometric s t i m u l i were employed. The sets d i f f e r e d i n number of dimensions, number of values of form and colour and al s o i n number of s t i m u l i . The c h i l d r e n were asked to s o r t the s t i m u l i and describe the groups formed. Then they were asked to do i t another way. A s o r t was considered adequate i f i t was completely c o n s i s t e n t and exhaustive. The experimenters reported t h a t a l l three age groups were able t o s o r t sets i n t o l o g i c a l groups but the 5-year-old c h i l d r e n made f a r fewer adequate s o r t s and experienced considerable d i f f i c u l t y i n s h i f t i n g c r i t e r i a f o r s o r t i n g . For a l l age groups the s t r u c t u r e and s i z e o f the s e t a f f e c t e d the type o f e r r o r s made. A l l subjects were a f f e c t e d by a t t r i b u t e preference but the younger c h i l d r e n to a gr e a t e r degree. 21 Kofsky and Osier had undertaken t h e i r study i n order to l o c a t e sources of d i f f i c u l t y i n concept attainment problems. They had hypothesized t h a t c h i l d r e n ' s d i f f i c u l t i e s might be due to i n a b i l i t y t o form l o g i c a l c l a s s e s or to s h i f t c r i t e r i a . They concluded that 5-year-olds can s o r t c o n s i s t e n t l y but t h e i r c h i e f d i f f i c u l t y i s i n changing c r i t e r i a . In one study u s i n g the matrix task Inhelder and P i a g e t (1964) found t h a t the youngest group (4-5-^year-olds) performed b e t t e r than the middle group (6-7-year-olds). Inhelder and P i a g e t suggested t h a t the younger subjects were using a perceptual s o l u t i o n r a t h e r than a l o g i c a l one. In t h e i r words, "One ( s o l u t i o n ) i s f i g u r a l and based on perceptual symmetries, the other i s o p e r a t i o n a l , i t r e s t s on a double c l a s s i f i c a t i o n and draws on genuine i n f e r e n c e s . " They declare t h a t the only way to determine which method the c h i l d i s using to solve the matrix i s to ask him f o r a v e r b a l explanation of h i s choice. A f u r t h e r check against p e r c e p t u a l s o l u t i o n s and guessing i s t o ask the c h i l d i f any other s o l u t i o n i s p o s s i b l e . I f he i s w i l l i n g to change a c o r r e c t s o l u t i o n , i t suggests t h a t he i s not c l e a r about the requirements of the task. Inhelder and P i a g e t t h e r e f o r e d i d not c r e d i t the c h i l d w i t h a c o r r e c t s o l u t i o n of the m a t r i x u n t i l he had made three responses: (1) f i n d i n g the c o r r e c t item, (2) j u s t i f y i n g t h i s c h o i c e , (3) s t a t i n g whether one or two of the other items might f i t as w e l l or b e t t e r . 2. Non-Piagetian Studies of C l a s s i f i c a t i o n and M a t r i x Problems Overton and Brodzinsky (1972) s p e c i f i c a l l y t e s t e d the hypothesis t h a t some c h i l d r e n use a perceptual s o l u t i o n to the matrix problem. They compared r e s u l t s using a standard square matrix and a l i n e a r arrangement of the f o u r c e l l s . They found no evidence t o support the hypothesis. They concluded t h a t at both the 4-5- and 6-7-year l e v e l s p e r c e p t u a l f a c t o r s do 22 not f a c i l i t a t e and p o s s i b l y hinder s u c c e s s f u l performance. They a l s o found th a t the 6-7-year-olds performed b e t t e r when the l i n e a r arrangement of the s t i m u l i was used and when i n s t r u c t i o n s emphasized the r u l e r e l a t i n g the stimulus dimensions used i n the problem. Bruner and Kenney (1966) described some i n v e s t i g a t i o n s of m u l t i p l e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n using the matrix task w i t h c h i l d r e n 3-7 years o l d . T h e i r procedure c a l l e d f o r a 3><3 matrix and 9 c y l i n d e r s v a r y i n g i n height and diameter. In the l i g h t of more recent s t u d i e s t h i s task seems u n n e c e s s a r i l y complex f o r small c h i l d r e n . To the extent t h a t young c h i l d r e n could perform the operations c a l l e d f o r , i t appeared t h a t they were guided by the percep t u a l aspects of the task and by a s i n g l e feature a t a time. When reproduction o f the matrix was c a l l e d f o r , the younger c h i l d r e n seemed to remember the d i s p l a y as an image. The ol d e r ones appeared t o t r a n s l a t e the image i n t o a v e r b a l encoding and a s e t of v e r b a l r u l e s f o r t r a n s f o r m a t i o n s . E a r l i e r i t was pointed out tha t a perc e p t u a l d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n hypothesis had been proposed to account f o r d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s h i f t behaviour (Tighe and Tighe, 1968). A s i m i l a r explanation has been advanced by Odom (1978) f o r developmental change and decalage r e l a t i o n s on P i a g e t i a n t a s k s . Odom has extended Gibson's (1969) ideas on p e r c e p t i o n by proposing that perceptual s e n s i t i v i t y increases as a r e s u l t of pe r c e p t u a l experience. Furthermore, i f the organism i s s e n s i t i v e to c e r t a i n i n f o r m a t i o n then t h a t i n f o r m a t i o n has a higher p r o b a b i l i t y of being c o g n i t i v e l y evaluated f o r problem s o l u t i o n . In order to t e s t h i s ideas, Odom manipulated the per c e p t u a l s a l i e n c e of the stimulus dimensions of a matrix task (Odom, A s t o r , and Cunningham, 1965). He reported t h a t when "the s o l u t i o n - r e l e v a n t i n f o r m a t i o n was h i g h l y s a l i e n t f o r young c h i l d r e n , t h e i r performance can r e f l e c t a l e v e l of c o g n i t i v e processing t h a t i s o f t e n a t t r i b u t e d only to 23 o l d e r c h i l d r e n and a d u l t s . " On the other hand, when the i r r e l e v a n t i n f o r m a t i o n i s h i g h l y s a l i e n t , performance accuracy i s low compared to old e r subjects (Odom and Mumbauer, 1971). 3. Vygotsky's Views on C l a s s i f i c a t i o n A major t h e o r i s t i n the developmental f i e l d who has w r i t t e n about the r o l e of c l a s s i f i c a t i o n i n conceptual l e a r n i n g i s Vygotsky (1962). His d e s c r i p t i o n of the changes i n the c h i l d ' s c l a s s i f i c a t i o n behaviour i s rath e r s i m i l a r to Piaget's except t h a t i n the t r a n s i t i o n p e r i o d he sees the c h i l d proceeding from graphic p e r c e p t i o n to the stage of concept formation. He says t h a t the c h i l d notes c e r t a i n a t t r i b u t e s of objects and ca t e g o r i z e s them by r e l a t i n g them to a b s t r a c t concepts. He s t r e s s e s the use of words to express a b s t r a c t i o n s and the e f f e c t of school i n g i n a r r i v i n g a t t h i s l e v e l . D e s c r i b i n g Vygotsky's views, L u r i a (1976, p. 52) says, "at the core of conceptual c a t e g o r i c a l t h i n k i n g i s the shared experience of s o c i e t y conveyed through i t s l i n g u i s t i c system." Vygotsky b e l i e v e d t h a t the development o f complex c l a s s i f i c a t o r y a b i l i t y and conceptual t h i n k i n g was dependent on the i n d i v i d u a l ' s a c t i v i t i e s . Schooling produces "academic concepts," the s o r t t h a t we use i n p s y c h o l o g i c a l s t u d i e s . In c e r t a i n s o c i e t i e s , such as p r i m i t i v e nomads and hunters, these concepts are not u s e f u l . The type of concepts these people use r e f l e c t the r e a l i t i e s of t h e i r d a i l y l i v e s . Vygotsky's i n s i s t e n c e on the c e n t r a l r o l e of language i n conceptual processes appears to agree w i t h the Kendler and Kendler p o s i t i o n on the f u n c t i o n of mediation. 24 A C o m p a r i s o n o f V i e w p o i n t s The K e n d l e r s , t h r o u g h i n v e s t i g a t i o n s u s i n g t h e r e v e r s a l s h i f t t e c h n i q u e , have c o n c l u d e d t h a t t h e r e i s a t r a n s i t i o n p e r i o d i n t h e c h i l d ' s c o g n i t i v e d e v e l o p m e n t i n w h i c h t h e r e i s an i n c r e a s i n g u s e o f m e d i a t i o n t o d e a l w i t h c o m p l e x s t i m u l u s s i t u a t i o n s . The n a t u r e o f t h e m e d i a t i o n i s n o t d e f i n e d b u t may i n c l u d e w o r d s , s y m b o l s o r i m a g e s . The e x p l a n a t i o n o f s h i f t b e h a v i o u r by t h e a t t e n t i o n t h e o r i s t s h a s o f f e r e d some a d d i t i o n a l i n s i g h t s . I t e m p h a s i z e s t h e i m p o r t a n c e o f a t t e n d i n g t o t h e r e l e v a n t d i m e n s i o n s i n o r d e r t o s o l v e p r o b l e m s . M o s t o f t h e i d e a s o f t h i s g r o u p o f r e s e a r c h e r s do n o t a p p e a r t o be a t o d d s w i t h t h e K e n d l e r s ' m o d e l e x c e p t on t h e o n t o g e n e t i c i s s u e . F o l l o w e r s o f t h e a t t e n t i o n t h e o r y v i e w f e e l t h a t c o g n i t i v e d e v e l o p m e n t i s s i m p l y a m a t t e r o f a c q u i r i n g i n c r e a s i n g a b i l i t y t o a t t e n d t o and u s e t h e r e l e v a n t d i m e n s i o n s i n v o l v e d i n t a s k s . The K e n d l e r s (1975) b e l i e v e t h a t t h e i r s t u d i e s have s u c c e s s f u l l y c o u n t e r e d some c r i t i c i s m s t h a t h a v e b e e n p u t f o r w a r d b y t h e a t t e n t i o n t h e o r i s t s . The K e n d l e r s have p r e s e n t e d f u r t h e r e v i d e n c e i n f a v o u r o f t h e i r d e v e l o p m e n t a l v i e w s b u t t h i s i s s u e r e m a i n s u n s e t t l e d . The p e r c e p t u a l d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n m o d e l o f T i g h e and T i g h e (1968) a g r e e s w i t h t h e K e n d l e r s 1 p o s i t i o n t h a t t h e r e i s an o n t o g e n y o f d i s c r i m i n a -t i o n s h i f t b e h a v i o u r . I t assumes t h a t t h e r e a r e d e v e l o p m e n t a l c h a n g e s i n t h e p e r c e p t u a l a b i l i t y t o d i f f e r e n t i a t e a t t r i b u t e s i n s t i m u l u s a r r a y s . The K e n d l e r s (1975) have s u g g e s t e d t h a t t h i s m o d e l c o u l d be r e f o r m u l a t e d t o a g r e e w i t h t h e d u a l - s t a g e m o d e l . F o r i n s t a n c e , t h e young c h i l d i n t h e e a r l y s t a g e may be a b l e t o d i f f e r e n t i a t e t h e components ( b l a c k , s q u a r e ) f r o m a s i n g l e s t i m u l u s compound ( b l a c k s q u a r e ) . O n l y l a t e r i s he c a p a b l e o f d i f f e r e n t i a t i n g a d i m e n s i o n ( b r i g h t n e s s , form) f r o m p a i r s o f s t i m u l u s 25 compounds (black square, white c i r c l e ) . Except for i t s emphasis on perception then, t h i s model resembles the dual-stage model (Kendler, 1971). Turning now to Piaget's characterization of c l a s s i f i c a t i o n behaviour, he describes the problem as one of i d e n t i f y i n g the p a r t i c u l a r a t t r i b u t e s that define a c l a s s . Piaget does not appear to have been concerned with such matters as mediation, attention and perceptual d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n although they are a l l p o t e n t i a l factors i n c l a s s i f i c a t i o n problems. Piaget, of course, has noted that the f i r s t steps i n the c h i l d ' s a b i l i t y to do c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s appears to involve recognizing perceptual s i m i l a r i t i e s . He does not explain how t h i s perceptual a b i l i t y i s acquired. Presumably, i t i s a natural consequence of development. Kofsky's studies indicate that the most d i f f i c u l t aspect of a double c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task for young children l i e s i n changing the basis of t h e i r categorization. When confronted with red and blue t r i a n g l e s and squares, the c h i l d may have no d i f f i c u l t y i n sorting on the basis of colour but may have trouble r e c l a s s i f y i n g on the basis of form. This r a i s e s the question: Is the d i f f i c u l t y here one that can be described i n terms of mediational d e f i c i e n c y , or f a i l u r e of a t t e n t i o n a l mechanisms, or inadequate perceptual d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n ? I t i s possible that the d i f f i c u l t y may be better understood by looking at i t from one of these t h e o r e t i c a l viewpoints but t h i s has not been done to our knowledge. Vygotsky's d e s c r i p t i o n of the development of c l a s s i f i c a t i o n behaviour agrees with Piaget's stage o u t l i n e . However, Vygotsky describes the more advanced l e v e l s as a matter of increasing verbal and conceptual a b i l i t y rather than a growth of l o g i c a l a b i l i t y . In t h i s respect h i s views are more compatible with t r a d i t i o n a l learning theory than are Piaget's. The studies involving the matrix task suggest that the c h i l d may 26 solve t h i s problem i n various ways: p e r c e p t u a l l y (Bruner and Kenney, 1966; Inhelder and P i a g e t , 1964), by u s i n g a r u l e (Inhelder and P i a g e t , 1964; Bruner and Kenney, 1966; Overton and Brodzinsky, 1972), by using an image (Bruner and Kenney, 1966). These observations are g e n e r a l l y compatible w i t h the Kendlers' two-stage theory i n which per c e p t u a l s o l u t i o n s are c h a r a c t e r i s -t i c of the younger c h i l d r e n and m e d i a t i o n a l s o l u t i o n s (images and v e r b a l r u l e s ) at the more advanced stage. A l s o , i n regard to the m a t r i x , Odom (1965, 1971) p o i n t s out t h a t the p e r c e p t u a l s a l i e n c e of the dimensions i s an important f a c t o r a f f e c t i n g the d i f f i c u l t y of the task f o r an i n d i v i d u a l . Restatement of the Problem I t i s apparent t h a t there are many d i f f e r e n t ways of l o o k i n g at c h i l d r e n ' s conceptual development. The Kendler and Kendler and P i a g e t i a n p o s i t i o n s though seemingly q u i t e d i f f e r e n t are i n agreement i n suggesting t h a t a very b a s i c change occurs a t some p o i n t i n the childhood years. Each of these approaches has obtained evidence from a v a r i e t y of t a s k s . In t h i s study, I have t r i e d to i d e n t i f y s i m i l a r elements i n some of t h e i r tasks and p i c k out those from each school of thought which seem to o f f e r the most c l e a r l y d e f i n a b l e comparisons. The tasks which I decided to compare are the o p t i o n a l r e v e r s a l s h i f t task of Kendler and Kendler, and the two-way c l a s s i f i c a t i o n and matrix tasks of P i a g e t . Making simple d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s and c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s are b a s i c processes i n formulating concepts. At the heart of these processes i s the r e c o g n i t i o n and use of a b s t r a c t a t t r i b u t e s such as c o l o u r , s i z e , e t c . The 27 r e c o g n i t i o n and use of a b s t r a c t a t t r i b u t e s i s common to both the r e v e r s a l s h i f t task and the P i a g e t i a n c l a s s i f i c a t i o n t a s k s . Therefore, t h i s may be the b a s i c s i m i l a r i t y which has l e d to the common view of the Kendlers and Piaget t h a t there i s a fundamental change observable i n l e a r n i n g processes i n the 5-7-year age p e r i o d . I f the changes suggested by the two approaches have a common b a s i s , we would expect t h a t the c h i l d who can perform c o n s i s t e n t l y w e l l on the two-way c l a s s i f i c a t i o n and matrix tasks w i l l a l s o be l i k e l y to make r e v e r s a l s h i f t s i n the o p t i o n a l s h i f t paradigm. The problem then i s : can a r e l a t i o n s h i p be shown between c h i l d r e n ' s performance on the r e v e r s a l s h i f t task and performance on the matrix and c l a s s i f i c a t i o n tasks? The hypothesis to be te s t e d i s : t h a t i n a sample of c h i l d r e n drawn from the 5-7-year age range there w i l l be a s i g n i f i c a n t p o s i t i v e c o r r e l a t i o n (a) between performance on the P i a g e t i a n two-way c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task and o p t i o n a l r e v e r s a l s h i f t responding, and (b) between matrix task performance and o p t i o n a l r e v e r s a l s h i f t responding. 28 CHAPTER I I I METHODOLOGY The Choice of Tasks Three tasks were chosen f o r t h i s study because they appear t o re q u i r e the same l o g i c a l or conceptual processes. I t i s necessary now to examine the r a t i o n a l e of these tasks i n some d e t a i l and e x p l a i n how the vers i o n s used i n t h i s study were d e r i v e d . 1. The M a t r i x Task The two P i a g e t i a n tasks are the matrix task and the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task. The matrix task i s a method of assessing m u l t i p l i c a t i v e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n a b i l i t i e s . This a b i l i t y c a l l s f o r simultaneous c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of obj e c t s i n t o two or more categories or the o r d e r i n g of objects as the i n t e r s e c t of two or more c l a s s e s . When studying m u l t i p l i c a t i v e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n , P i a g e t and h i s c o l l a b o r a t o r s have g e n e r a l l y used the matrix completion task. The matrix problem i s one which i s set out i n a g r i d p a t t e r n . I t i n v o l v e s s t i m u l i which can be c l a s s i f i e d on two or more dimensions. In the standardized procedure used by Piage t and a l s o used i n Raven's Progressive M a t r i c e s , the lower r i g h t space of the g r i d i s to be f i l l e d i n w i t h an item which w i l l achieve p a r a l l e l i s m w i t h the items already presented. For in s t a n c e , i f there i s a l a r g e square above a la r g e c i r c l e on the l e f t s i d e and a small square i n the upper r i g h t p o s i t i o n , then the expected s o l u t i o n i s a small c i r c l e placed i n the empty space. In a chapter d e a l i n g w i t h m u l t i p l i c a t i v e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n , Inhelder and P i a g e t (1964) p o i n t out that the matrix i s more complicated than 29 a d d i t i v e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n from a l o g i c a l p o i n t of view because i t r e q u i r e s c l a s s i f i c a t i o n based on two or more c r i t e r i a a t the same time. On the other hand, they note t h a t the graphic form of p r e s e n t a t i o n seems t o a s s i s t c h i l d r e n i n a r r i v i n g a t a s o l u t i o n . In some cases c h i l d r e n appear to solve a matrix problem on the b a s i s of perc e p t u a l symmetry. That i s t o say, they choose an element to f i l l out the matrix so th a t the two columns or the two rows w i l l appear symmetrical w i t h respect to each other. Since P i a g e t considers t h a t a perc e p t u a l s o l u t i o n i s not an adequate one, he t e s t s the c h i l d f u r t h e r by asking f o r a v e r b a l explanation of the choice. The c h i l d i s considered to have mastered the matrix task and i t s simultaneous c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s when he can give an adequate explanation f o r the c o r r e c t choice and when he refuses to accept other p o s s i b i l i t i e s than the c o r r e c t one. 2. R e l a t i o n s h i p between the M a t r i x and C l a s s i f i c a t i o n Tasks Inhelder and Pi a g e t (1964) note t h a t m u l t i p l i c a t i v e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s are mastered at about the same time as other types of c l a s s i f i c a t i o n , at about age 7 to 8. This f a c t suggests t h a t there may be an interdependence between these operations. Inhelder and Pi a g e t s t a t e as a co n c l u s i o n t h a t they found a continuous p a r a l l e l i s m between a d d i t i v e and m u l t i p l i c a t i v e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s but they present no c l e a r c u t evidence f o r t h i s statement. Along w i t h the matrix Inhelder and Pi a g e t looked a t c r o s s - c l a s s i f i c a t i o n . By t h i s they mean s o r t i n g a number of elements i n t o a f i x e d number of c l a s s e s (four at f i r s t ) and then combining these to form l a r g e r c l a s s e s . P i a g e t has set up t h i s task using a box w i t h p a r t i t i o n s analogous to the matrix. The c h i l d r e n were expected t o s o r t the blocks o r cards i n t o the four c u b i c l e s and then remove the p a r t i t i o n s to create l a r g e r 30 c l a s s e s . In t h i s form, the c r o s s - c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task i s q u i t e s i m i l a r to the matrix but i f the c h i l d i n i t i a l l y s o r t s red and blue c i r c l e s , f o r i n s t a n c e , i n t o diagonal compartments, he may f i n d i t d i f f i c u l t to see how a rearrangement would help him form a l a r g e r c l a s s of c i r c l e s on one s i d e of the box. C r o s s - c l a s s i f i c a t i o n according to Inhelder: and P i a g e t i s "a matter of c l a s s i f y i n g objects i n terms of two simultaneous c r i t e r i a . " They s t a t e t h a t producing c r o s s - c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s appears to u n d e r l i e c o r r e c t performance and understanding of the matrix problem. Accepting Piaget's a n a l y s i s , the matrix task can be thought of as a s p e c i a l form of the c r o s s - c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task and the c r o s s - c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task i n t u r n as a form of two-way c l a s s i f i c a t i o n . In the o r d i n a r y two-way c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task the s u b j e c t i s r e q u i r e d t o s o r t o b j e c t s i n t o two sets on the b a s i s of one a t t r i b u t e and then rearrange them to form two new sets on the b a s i s of a d i f f e r e n t a t t r i b u t e . In Piaget's c r o s s - c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task the c h i l d does e s s e n t i a l l y the same ope r a t i o n but i n two steps. The group of objects i s f i r s t s o r t e d i n t o f o u r c l a s s e s u s i n g two values o f two a t t r i b u t e s (red, blue; c i r c l e , square). Then the c h i l d observes how he can combine these c l a s s e s i n two d i f f e r e n t ways on the b a s i s of one a t t r i b u t e (colour) and then the other (form). This two-step process i s o f t e n the way the c h i l d approaches the two-way c l a s s i f i c a t i o n problem, t h a t i s , f i r s t making sets of a l l the s i m i l a r o b jects and then combining them. The c r o s s - c l a s s i f i c a t i o n method of P i a g e t does nothing more than set out the problem i n a matrix p a t t e r n . I t i l l u s t r a t e s the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the matrix and c l a s s i f i c a t i o n but i s not a good task to administer because of the d i f f i c u l t y noted above. Both the matrix and the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n tasks r e q u i r e the c h i l d to 31 be able to see t h a t an o b j e c t can belong to two d i f f e r e n t c l a s s e s simultaneously. A red c i r c l e can be c l a s s e d w i t h other red o b j e c t s or w i t h c i r c l e s o f other c o l o u r s . In the case o f the matrix task, the c h i l d must complete the matrix w i t h the item which produces a c l a s s based on one dimension f o r the rows and a d i f f e r e n t c l a s s based on another dimension f o r the columns. In the two-way c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task, he must form a c l a s s based on one dimension f o r h i s f i r s t s o r t and then use a d i f f e r e n t dimension to create a new c l a s s i f i c a t i o n . So fundamentally the problems appear to be s i m i l a r . There are d i f f e r e n c e s i n the format of these tasks which may be s i g n i f i c a n t f a c t o r s a f f e c t i n g performance: (1) The matrix task i s a completion task while the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task hinges on r e a r r a n g i n g the elements (2) There are g e n e r a l l y more s t i m u l i to deal w i t h i n the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task than i n the two-way matrix. 3. The C l a s s i f i c a t i o n Task The c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task used i n the present study belongs i n a range of tasks t h a t were analyzed and described by Inhelder and P i a g e t (1959). They hypothesized t h a t c l a s s i f i c a t i o n a b i l i t y develops i n a p a r t i a l l y ordered sequence of 11 steps. Kofsky (1966) attempted to t r a n s l a t e the steps i n t o a set of f a i r l y standardized tasks and procedures. Geometric blocks of 3 shapes and 4 colours were used as s t i m u l i . The s o r t of a c t i v i t y t h a t Inhelder and P i a g e t had c a l l e d c r o s s - c l a s s i f i c a t i o n , Kofsky l a b e l l e d h o r i z o n t a l r e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n . In her v e r s i o n , the s t i m u l i were blocks combining 2 shapes and 4 c o l o u r s . Each subject was asked (a) to s o r t a l l the objects t h a t were a l i k e i n t o groups, (b) to s o r t a 32 d i f f e r e n t way and (c) to e x p l a i n each complete grouping. To pass the t e s t the c h i l d had to s o r t completely by colour at one time and by shape at another time. This general scheme was followed f o r the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task of the present study except t h a t only 2 colours were used. Nei t h e r Kofsky nor Inhelder and P i a g e t attempted to compare t h i s type of c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task t o the matrix but P i a g e t and Inhelder (1970) describe the s i t u a t i o n of a c h i l d doing a c r o s s - c l a s s i f i c a t i o n w i t h 2 shapes and 2 colours and i n the process arranging the o b j e c t s i n the form of a matrix. T h e i r d i s c u s s i o n suggests a c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p between the two t a s k s . In a l a t e r study, Kofsky and Osier (1967) explored p o s s i b l e p a r a l l e l s between s o r t i n g behaviour and concept i d e n t i f i c a t i o n . They used some c l a s s i f i c a t i o n tasks of s i m i l a r design to the above but v a r y i n g the number of dimensions and s t i m u l i . In the second experiment of t h i s study the subjects (5-, 8- and 11-year-olds) were i n s t r u c t e d to arrange the set of s t i m u l i i n t o two groups. I f they made more than two, they were asked to combine these groups u n t i l two c l a s s e s were obtained. This procedure was used to see i f c h i l d r e n could perform i n a manner s i m i l a r to t h a t r e q u i r e d i n a two-choice concept problem. The same procedure was used i n the present study because i t was f e l t t h a t the three tasks being compared could be considered as two-choice concept problems. 4. The O p t i o n a l S h i f t Task The o p t i o n a l s h i f t technique was developed as a method of comparing performance of i n d i v i d u a l age groups. The mandatory s h i f t technique which had been used i n many e a r l i e r s t u d i e s of s h i f t behaviour simply provided group averages of the number of t r i a l s to s o l u t i o n f o r a r e v e r s a l or nonreversal s h i f t . With the o p t i o n a l task the subject i n d i c a t e s by h i s s o l u t i o n how he i s using the stimulus values. He can thereby be assessed 33 as a subject who i s making a r e v e r s a l s h i f t or an extradimensional s h i f t or n e i t h e r . The d e f i n i n g feature of the s h i f t d i s c r i m i n a t i o n task i s the unannounced change i n the dimension which i s to be rewarded. A f t e r the subject has solved the problem of f i n d i n g the r e l e v a n t dimension i n the f i r s t phase o f the experiment, he i s confronted w i t h a new problem. In the case of a mandatory s h i f t , the experimenter may e i t h e r change the value of the r e l e v a n t dimension producing a r e v e r s a l s h i f t or may choose a new dimension t o be rewarded which i s an extradimensional s h i f t . The o p t i o n a l s h i f t paradigm i s d i f f e r e n t i n th a t i n the second d i s c r i m i n a t i o n the stimulus t h a t i s rewarded i s a combination of both dimensions. A f t e r c r i t e r i o n i s reached on the f i r s t d i s c r i m i n a t i o n , one stimulus p a i r i s presented w i t h rewards reversed. The subj e c t must s h i f t h i s response but may respond to e i t h e r dimension or both. In the f i n a l phase of the experiment the t e s t p a i r , on which any choice i s rewarded, i s a l t e r n a t e d w i t h a t r a i n i n g p a i r on which only the c o r r e c t p a i r i s rewarded. The o p t i o n a l s h i f t as presented by the Kendlers (1962) i s i l l u s t r a t e d i n Figure 2 and w i l l be explained i n more d e t a i l . In the f i r s t phase o f the experiment, subjects are presented w i t h stimulus cards showing a large b lack square (LB) p a i r e d w i t h a small white square (SW) or a la r g e white square (LW) with a small b lack square (SB). Order and p o s i t i o n are randomized and each concept (L,B,S,W) i s c o r r e c t f o r one f o u r t h of the s u b j e c t s . In the case of a subject f o r whom black i s the c o r r e c t concept and s i z e i s i r r e l e v a n t , the choice of e i t h e r SB or LB i s rewarded. When he reaches c r i t e r i o n on t h i s problem, a second d i s c r i m i n a t i o n i s presented which i n v o l v e s only one of the stimulus p a i r s , e.g., LB and SW, and SW i s 34 now rewarded as the c o r r e c t response. The c h i l d can reach c r i t e r i o n on t h i s phase by choosing white, i n which case he i s considered to be making a r e v e r s a l response to another value of the b r i g h t n e s s dimension. He could a l s o be responding to the smallness of SW. This choice can be expected from nonmediators since i n the f i r s t phase small was rewarded h a l f of the time and whiteness not at a l l . The c h i l d can a l s o respond to both the smallness and whiteness of the s t i m u l u s . The Kendlers take t h i s to be another nonmediating response which i s categorized as " i n c o n s i s t e n t . " In order to determine the way i n which the c h i l d has been responding to the second phase of the task, a t h i r d s e r i e s i s introduced without i n t e r r u p t i o n . Both stimulus p a i r s are used but the p a i r t h a t was not used i n the second phase (LW and SB) are now a t e s t p a i r . E i t h e r choice i s rewarded on t h i s p a i r but a c t u a l choices are recorded f o r 10 p r e s e n t a t i o n s . On the b a s i s of these choices the c h i l d i s scored as a r e v e r s a l s u b j e c t i f W i s chosen at l e a s t 8 out of 10 times, a nonreversal s u b j e c t i f S i s chosen at l e a s t 8 out of 10, and i n c o n s i s t e n t i n other cases. 5. R e l a t i o n s h i p between the S h i f t Task and the M a t r i x and C l a s s i f i c a t i o n  Tasks I t was argued p r e v i o u s l y t h a t the matrix and c l a s s i f i c a t i o n tasks re q u i r e d the subject to i d e n t i f y and use f i r s t one conceptual dimension and then another i n order to achieve s o l u t i o n s . The d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s h i f t tasks seemingly i d e n t i f y those subjects who can c o n s i s t e n t l y use a conceptual dimension to solve both i n i t i a l and r e v e r s a l phases of the problem. For i n s t a n c e , i f a c h i l d d i s c o v e r s t h a t "red" i s the c o r r e c t s o l u t i o n i n the f i r s t phase, he w i l l ( i f a r e v e r s a l responder) n a t u r a l l y t r y the colour dimension i n the second phase. A c h i l d who tends to use the conceptual 35 dimensions to solve a r e v e r s a l s h i f t , should t h e o r e t i c a l l y be able to use s i m i l a r conceptual categories to achieve c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s or matrix s o l u t i o n s . Those other subjects who do not use a b s t r a c t conceptual dimensions such as colour or form to solve the r e v e r s a l s h i f t task (the nonreversal responders) may be processing the stimulus features s o l e l y on a p e r c e p t u a l l e v e l as red squares or red c i r c l e s . I f these subjects are, i n f a c t , unable to see a conceptual s o l u t i o n to the s h i f t task, then they may w e l l have the same d i f f i c u l t y i n a c h i e v i n g a conceptual s o l u t i o n to the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n and matrix t a s k s . They may be unable to use the dimension as a b a s i s f o r s o r t i n g or matrix completion. Experimental Procedures 1. Subjects Subjects were 34 c h i l d r e n i n a kindergarten c l a s s i n a middle-c l a s s suburban elementary school i n North Vancouver. They v a r i e d i n age from 5 years, 3 months t o 6 years, 2 months with a median age of 5.11. Males outnumbered females 22 to 12. A l l subjects completed a l l of the t a s k s . 2. M a t e r i a l a. The s h i f t task. Three tasks were administered. One was the o p t i o n a l r e v e r s a l s h i f t d i s c r i m i n a t i o n as employed by Kendler and Kendler. This was r e f e r r e d to as the s h i f t task. The other two were based on the c r o s s - c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task and the matrix completion task described by Inhelder and P i a g e t (1964). They were r e f e r r e d to as the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task and the matrix task, r e s p e c t i v e l y . A l l three tasks used s i m i l a r s t i m u l i , namely, geometric forms 36 ( c i r c l e , square, t r i a n g l e ) v a r y i n g i n s i z e (large or small) or colour (red, bl u e , or orange). In the s h i f t d i s c r i m i n a t i o n task only the square shape was used and i t was v a r i e d on two dimensions: s i z e (large or small) and co l o u r (blue or orange). Because the s h i f t task was a f a i r l y long e x e r c i s e f o r young c h i l d r e n , i t was considered too demanding to use a l l combinations of the three dimensions. The c o l o u r - s i z e combination was used because i n the Kendler and Kendler (1970) study using the same three dimensions i t was found to be the p a i r i n g which most ne a r l y agreed w i t h the combined r e s u l t s of a l l three p a i r i n g s . In f a c t , f o r the kindergarten subjects there was no s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e . The s t i m u l i c o n s i s t e d of a set of 4><6-inch cards. An example i s shown i n Figure 3. A l i n e across the card d i v i d e d i t i n t o two equal areas, each d i s p l a y i n g a square of coloured paper pasted i n p l a c e . The l a r g e squares were 4.2 cm per side and the small ones were 2.6 cm. On each card the squares were always opposed to each other on both dimensions. b. The matrix task. For the matrix task the s t i m u l i were geometric shapes ( c i r c l e , square, t r i a n g l e ) cut out of masonite and pa i n t e d b r i g h t red or blue. The squares were 4.2 cm or 3.6 cm per s i d e , the t r i a n g l e s 5.2 cm or 3.7 cm, and the c i r c l e s had diameters of .5 cm or 3.3 cm (see Figure 4 ). These dimensions produced an approximate s i m i l a r i t y i n area among the l a r g e ones and among the small ones. Since the matrix completion task was to be a simple 2x2 type, a white card was used which was d i v i d e d i n h a l f each way by a bl a c k l i n e thus c r e a t i n g 4 c e l l s . On t h i s the matrix problem was l a i d out. c. The c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task. The m a t e r i a l f o r the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n Figure 3 Example of stimulus card f o r the optional r e v e r s a l s h i f t task Figure 4 Examples of s i z e s and shapes used i n the matrix task 39 task c o n s i s t e d o f a set of 6.2x7.5 cm cards each of which had on i t one of the three geometric forms, e i t h e r red or b l u e , l a r g e or small (see Figure 5 ) . The dimensions were g e n e r a l l y the same as those used i n the other t a s k s . There were s e v e r a l d u p l i c a t i o n s of each p a r t i c u l a r stimulus type. 3. Procedure The tasks were administered i n the same order f o r a l l s u b j e c t s . a. The matrix task. The matrix task was presented f i r s t . The c h i l d r e n were a t t r a c t e d to the coloured forms and were immediately i n t e r e s t e d i n t a k i n g p a r t i n the " t h i n k i n g game." The c h i l d r e n were f i r s t asked to i d e n t i f y a l l of the values and dimensions of the s t i m u l i . There were only two or three c h i l d r e n who could not immediately i d e n t i f y the t r i a n g l e or square by name but they were obviously a l l f a m i l i a r w i t h these shapes. The experimenter l a i d out 3 s t i m u l i on the white card, e.g., the large red t r i a n g l e , the small red t r i a n g l e and the la r g e red c i r c l e , l e a v i n g the lower r i g h t c e l l empty. The c h i l d was then asked, "Which of these (E p o i n t i n g to t r a y of s t i m u l i ) goes best i n t h i s p l a c e ? " A f t e r making h i s choice, the c h i l d was asked, "Why d i d you choose t h i s one?" He was then asked, "Can anything e l s e go i n the empty pl a c e j u s t as w e l l ? " I n s t r u c t i o n s were g e n e r a l l y patterned on those used by Inhelder and P i a g e t (1964) . Each c h i l d was presented w i t h three d i f f e r e n t arrangements of incomplete matrix so t h a t a l l combinations of the three dimensions were used; i . e . , colour-form, form-size, and c o l o u r - s i z e . The order of the three subtasks was r o t a t e d from subject to sub j e c t . Scoring. The c h i l d was scored one p o i n t f o r each c o r r e c t choice i f he stayed w i t h i t , t h a t i s , i f he d i d not change h i s response when asked 40 Figure 5 Card types used i n the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task 41 i f any other choice would be as good. He was given another p o i n t i f he could e x p l a i n the reason f o r h i s choice. Therefore a score of 6 p o i n t s was p o s s i b l e f o r a l l 3 p a r t s . b. The s h i f t d i s c r i m i n a t i o n task. The s h i f t d i s c r i m i n a t i o n task was administered next and i n the same s e s s i o n . I n s t r u c t i o n s . "Now we w i l l p l a y another t h i n k i n g game. I t w i l l be q u i t e easy. Look at these cards. What do they have on them?" (Make sure c h i l d can i d e n t i f y a l l elements.) "There are always two things on each card. I am going to choose one of them and I want you to guess which one I have chosen and p o i n t to i t . I ' l l t e l l you i f you guess r i g h t . Then we w i l l do the same t h i n g w i t h the other cards. Let's s t a r t now and you w i l l soon see how i t goes." For each choice the c h i l d was t o l d "Yes" or "No," and another card was immediately turned over. The cards were prearranged so th a t the c o r r e c t s t i m u l i would occur e q u a l l y o f t e n on each s i d e and a l s o no more than three consecutive times on one s i d e . C r i t e r i o n f o r t h i s phase of the d i s c r i m i n a t i o n task was 10 successive c o r r e c t choices. Most c h i l d r e n caught on f a i r l y q u i c k l y , some q u i t e r a p i d l y . The others were encouraged to keep t r y i n g u n t i l they were t i r e d and u n w i l l i n g to t r y again. When a c h i l d completed the f i r s t d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s u c c e s s f u l l y , he was immediately presented w i t h the second phase of the task. I f the c o r r e c t choice i n the f i r s t p a r t had been " l a r g e , " i t would now be " s m a l l . " The cards now had only two s t i m u l i , l a r g e orange and sm a l l blue. Once again, c r i t e r i o n was 10 successive c o r r e c t choices. The c h i l d r e n caught on to the s h i f t q u i t e r a p i d l y , u s u a l l y a f t e r the f i r s t i n c o r r e c t guess. In the f i n a l phase of the task, cards showing the t r a i n i n g p a i r 42 for which there was only one correct choice were presented a l t e r n a t e l y with the t e s t p a i r . For the t e s t p a i r e i t h e r choice was declared correct but the actual choice was recorded on the protocol. From these responses i t could be determined whether the c h i l d was basing h i s second d i s c r i m i n a t i o n on a switch from large to small (a r e v e r s a l s h i f t ) or from large to blue (a nonreversal s h i f t ) . I f at l e a s t 8 out of 10 choices were consistent, the c h i l d was scored as a reverser or a nonreverser. I f he made fewer consistent choices, he was l a b e l l e d as nonselective. At the outset of the d i s c r i m i n a t i o n task each of the four stimulus values was p o s i t i v e f or one quarter of the subjects. The C l a s s i f i c a t i o n Task A simple c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task was administered at another session approximately ten days l a t e r . There were three subtasks each in v o l v i n g two dimensions with two values of each. A set of 12 cards were presented i n a scattered arrangement on the table i n front of the c h i l d . Instructions were: "I want you to put together the things that go together. Make two p i l e s . Make sure there i s a d i f f e r e n t kind i n each p i l e . " When the c h i l d had sorted them suc c e s s f u l l y into two p i l e s , he was asked to explain the reasons for h i s s o r t i n g . Then he was asked i f he could make two more p i l e s , doing i t a d i f f e r e n t way. He was scored one mark for each correct sorting and explanation, thus g i v i n g a maximum of 6 points f o r t h i s task. 43 Hypotheses and Design The hypotheses to be tested were: (1) That there i s a s i g n i f i c a n t p o s i t i v e c o r r e l a t i o n between scores on the matrix task and on the reve r s a l s h i f t task (2) That there i s a s i g n i f i c a n t p o s i t i v e c o r r e l a t i o n between scores on the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task and on the reve r s a l s h i f t task. In s t a t i s t i c a l terms f o r 34 subjects t h i s means that the c o r r e l a t i o n c o e f f i c i e n t s should exceed .28 at the .10 l e v e l . The design of t h i s experiment simply required the comparison of r e s u l t s of the three tasks administered to one group of subjects. The subjects representing the 5-7-year age group were to be kindergarten p u p i l s enrolled i n an elementary school. Task r e s u l t s were to be compared by Pearson c o r r e l a t i o n c o e f f i c i e n t s . I t was also decided to use a chi-square analysis a f t e r dichotomizing the r e s u l t s of each task to agree with preset d e f i n i t i o n s of competent task performance. 44 CHAPTER IV RESULTS The r e s u l t s obtained d i d not support the hypotheses t h a t there would be p o s i t i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p s between performance on the matrix and c l a s s i f i c a t i o n t a s k s , and the tendency to make a r e v e r s a l s h i f t . The c o r r e l a t i o n s were p o s i t i v e but not s i g n i f i c a n t . The c o r r e l a t i o n of matrix task r e s u l t s w i t h the s h i f t was .19, and the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task w i t h the s h i f t was .11; n e i t h e r being s i g n i f i c a n t a t the .10 l e v e l . I t was a l s o found t h a t the matrix and c l a s s i f i c a t i o n tasks had a n o n s i g n i f i c a n t c o r r e l a t i o n (.12). Age had a s l i g h t negative c o r r e l a t i o n w i t h the three tasks but was not s i g n i f i c a n t . C o r r e l a t i o n w i t h sex was a l s o i n s i g n i f i c a n t . In the case of the s h i f t t a s k , a check was made to see i f cue preference might have a f f e c t e d performance'. The four p o s i t i v e s t i m u l i i n the f i r s t d i s c r i m i n a t i o n were c o r r e l a t e d w i t h r e s u l t s on t h i s task. I t was found t h a t there was no s i g n i f i c a n t e f f e c t . Chi-square t e s t s were a l s o performed. In t h i s case the data were recoded as i n d i c a t e d i n Table I . The r a t i o n a l e f o r t h i s recoding was tha t we wished to analyze performances of the c h i l d r e n on the simpler l e v e l , of whether they chose the r e v e r s a l s h i f t or not, and whether or not they could do the matrix and c l a s s i f i c a t i o n tasks adequately i n at l e a s t one form. 45 Table I Recoding of the data f o r chi-square a n a l y s i s Task Score C r i t e r i a M a t r i x task 2 c o r r e c t performance and explanation on at l e a s t one subtest 1 a l l other responses C l a s s i f i c a t i o n 2 at l e a s t one two-way c l a s s i f i c a t i o n achieved 1 a l l other responses S h i f t 2 r e v e r s a l s h i f t 1 a l l others I t can be seen from Table I I t h a t the chi-square a n a l y s i s i n d i c a t e d t h a t there were no s i g n i f i c a n t r e l a t i o n s h i p s between the tasks as recoded. Table I I The c o r r e c t e d chi-squares Chi-square S i g n i f i c a n c e l e v e l M a t rix w i t h s h i f t .003 .95 C l a s s i f i c a t i o n w i t h s h i f t .000 .98 M a t r i x w i t h c l a s s i f i c a t i o n .405 .52 Table I I I Frequency t a b l e s f o r the three tasks Task Scores Number of subjects Percentage S h i f t : r e v e r s a l s h i f t 4 16 47.1 nonreversal 3 7 20.6 no n s e l e c t i v e 2 4 11.8 unable to do f i r s t d i s c r i m i n a t i o n 1 7 20.6 Task Scores Number of subjects Percentage C l a s s i f i c a t i o n 0 2 5.9 1 1 2.9 2 5 14.7 3 8 23.5 4 4 11.8 5 6 17.6 6 8 23.5 Task Scores Number of subjects Percentage M a t r i x 0 2 5.9 1 6 17.6 2 5 14.7 3 1 2.9 4 4 11.8 5 5 14.7 6 11 32.4 4 7 Frequencies for the classification task show that 8 subjects scored 3 points which represented 3 correct one-way classification and no points for two-way classifications. There were also 8 subjects who scored 6 points for performing the two-way classifications perfectly. The other scores (except 0) indicate inconsistent performance and possibly the effect of the preference. As examples of inconsistency across tasks, there were three cases of children who achieved perfect scores on the classification task but who scored only one or two points on the matrix. It may be significant that one of these children chose the reversal shift. There were three cases of children who did the matrix completion perfectly but who were unable to sort the classification stimuli in more than one way. One of these chose a reversal shift. On the other hand, there were only four subjects who achieved perfect scores on both the classification and matrix tasks. In each case these subjects chose a reversal shift. This finding suggests that the relationship we were looking for in this study might be found in a slightly older group of children. 48 CHAPTER V DISCUSSION Explanat i o n of Results 1. Lack of Support f o r Hypothesis There are three p o s s i b l e explanations f o r the l a c k of s i g n i f i c a n t c o r r e l a t i o n s and the f a c t t h a t the chi-square t e s t s were negative: (1) I t may be th a t the tasks do not c a l l f o r the same s k i l l s ; (2) The tasks may not have been made equal i n d i f f i c u l t y ; (3) Other f a c t o r s may have been operating to mask an a c t u a l r e l a t i o n s h i p . The hypothesis t h a t the same c o g n i t i v e a b i l i t i e s are c a l l e d f o r i n these tasks may be i n v a l i d . On the other hand, i t may be th a t the c h i l d has the a b i l i t y to recognize and use the task dimensions and change c r i t e r i a when c a l l e d f o r but he i s encountering other d i f f i c u l t i e s which are inherent i n the tasks. The problem of f i n d i n g evidence f o r hypothesized c o g n i t i v e operations has been noted many times (e.g., F l a v e l l and W o h l w i l l , 1969; Kofsky, 1966; Smedslund, 1964). This problem w i l l be taken up i n more d e t a i l l a t e r . 2. Agreement w i t h Previous Studies The tasks should have been equal i n d i f f i c u l t y i n order to make meaningful comparisons between them. O v e r a l l r e s u l t s i n d i c a t e d t h a t they were s i m i l a r i n d i f f i c u l t y f o r the group as a whole. In the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task 52.9% of subjects scored 4 or more p o i n t s ( i n d i c a t i n g t h a t they could do the two-way c l a s s i f i c a t i o n i n at l e a s t one instance and give an adequate e x p l a n a t i o n ) . For the matrix task 58.8% of subjects scored 4 or 49 more points. The percentage of reversal shift subjects was 47.1%. The fact that the results obtained for each of the three tasks were similar to findings in previous studies lends support to the view that the experimental method could not be blamed for the failure to confirm the hypothesis. With regard to the reversal shift study, Kendler and Kendler (1975) have found in their studies with large groups of children that there are generally about 50% reversal shifts with kindergarten children. In the case of the classification task, a similar version used by Kofsky and Osier (1967) showed 50% of the 5-year-old group doing adequate sorting (two-way with explanation). Piaget and Inhelder (1970) indicate 57% operational solutions for a two-attribute matrix using 6-year-old subjects (14 subjects). These comparisons seem to indicate that neither the subjects nor the methods used were likely to produce unusual results. 3. Another Possible Approach While the hypothesized relationship between discrimination shift performance and multiple classification a b i l i t y was not supported by the results of this study, i t is s t i l l possible that this relationship holds with slightly older children. One possible new approach would be to test a group of 6- or 7-year-olds and select two groups that could be clearly categorized as preoperational or concrete operational using a battery of Piagetian tasks. Then the groups could be compared for reversal shift performance. The disadvantage of this type of study is that many transitional subjects who would not f i t either category would have to be dropped from the fin a l study. 5 0 D i f f e r e n c e s between the Kendler and P i a g e t i a n Tasks While the tasks used i n t h i s experiment were designed to present s i m i l a r s t i m u l i and to r e q u i r e s i m i l a r l o g i c a l processes, there were at l e a s t two important d i f f e r e n c e s between the P i a g e t i a n tasks and the s h i f t task. One d i f f e r e n c e was obvious i n the task format and s o l u t i o n r e q u i r e -ments, the other i n the language requirements. 1. Task Format Reversal and nonreversal s h i f t s are revealed i n a task format where there are many t r i a l s and c o n t i n u a l reinforcement. The s u b j e c t , i f he can do the task a t a l l , i s l e d to continue h i s e f f o r t s toward a s o l u t i o n . By the end of the task he has probably i n d i c a t e d j u s t how w e l l he can de a l w i t h the problem a t that p a r t i c u l a r time. The P i a g e t i a n t a s k s , on the other hand, are much more open-ended i n t h e i r requirements. When the c h i l d chooses an obje c t to f i l l out the mat r i x , he i s not t o l d t h a t i t i s r i g h t or wrong. He i s simply prompted to reconsider h i s choice by being asked i f there i s any other choice t h a t w i l l f i l l the c e l l c o r r e c t l y . I f he were t o l d c l e a r l y t h a t h i s choice i s wrong, he might continue working on the problem but as i t i s , he i s f r e e to stay w i t h h i s o r i g i n a l choice. When asked to j u s t i f y h i s choice, he can simply s t a t e t h a t " i t looks r i g h t t h a t way." I t may be argued, however, t h a t even though the c h i l d d i d not understand the task demands i n i t i a l l y , he may s t i l l be capable of f i n d the s o l u t i o n i f he i s made aware of the correctness or i n c o r r e c t n e s s of h i s choices. In s h o r t , then, the d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s h i f t task i s a l e a r n i n g task f while the matrix or c l a s s i f i c a t i o n tasks are methods of assessing the c h i l d ' s understanding of a problem as i t i s presented. This d i f f e r e n c e i n 51 procedure would perhaps be considered unimportant in Piaget's view because he would say that i f the child is capable of doing the task, the usual questioning procedure should be sufficient to reveal'that capability. Whether the Piagetian tasks do reveal the child's understanding is a matter of some debate. For instance, regarding the sorting task, Inhelder and Piaget (1959) claimed that the subjects spontaneously interpret the instructions in the most sophisticated manner of which they are capable. But Braine (1962) disagreed and pointed out that is is impossible to be sure that the subject has given the best response of which he i s capable. Braine argues that when the subject gives several correct sortings i t is probably safe to conclude that he understands the abstract concept involved in the expression "same kind" or "alike." However, i f the subject does not sort satisfactorily, one cannot be confident that he i s incapable of a better performance—at least "one has much less confidence than one has in a learning task where correct responses are reinforced" (p. 43) . 2. Verbal Requirements The other very important difference between the Piagetian tasks and the shift task i s that the former require verbal methods, while the latter does not depend on the child's understanding of language. The shift task in the present study was preceded by a verbal introduction and the reinforcement consisted of a "yes" or "no" from the experimenter, but the subjects had no real need to understand or use language in the course of their performance. Braine (1962) was also concerned about the use of verbal methods in Piaget's problems. He f e l t that when a child had to respond to words whose meanings were not clear to him, his responses could not be properly 52 evaluated. In many t a s k s , i f the c h i l d understands the meaning of the v e r b a l i n s t r u c t i o n s , i t f o l l o w s t h a t he must understand the concept i n v o l v e d . For i n s t a n c e , when the experimenter r e f e r s to "things t h a t go together," i t may be i n t e r p r e t e d by the c h i l d as things t h a t have the same a t t r i b u t e , i n which case he w i l l understand the c l a s s concept. But i f the experimenter's words are i n t e r p r e t e d to mean things t h a t look w e l l together and the c h i l d responds to th a t meaning, i t does not n e c e s s a r i l y mean th a t he i s incapable of c l a s s i f y i n g objects by t h e i r a t t r i b u t e s . Kofsky (1966) a l s o pointed to the e f f e c t of d i f f e r i n g v e r b a l i n s t r u c t i o n s as one explanation f o r the many i n c o n s i s t e n c i e s revealed i n her scalogram study. In her o p i n i o n a l s o , tasks r e q u i r i n g the c h i l d to v e r b a l i z e are i n h e r e n t l y d i f f e r e n t from those r e q u i r i n g manipulation of m a t e r i a l . Previous Studies Which Found a Lack of R e l a t i o n s h i p among Tasks 1. Smedslund The l a c k of correspondence of r e s u l t s between the two P i a g e t i a n tasks i n t h i s study i s not p a r t i c u l a r l y s u r p r i s i n g i n the l i g h t of e a r l i e r f i n d i n g s . Smedslund (1964) looked f o r r e l a t i o n s h i p s among e i g h t t e s t s of concrete reasoning adapted from Piag e t and h i s c o l l a b o r a t o r s . His subjects were 5-8-year-olds. One of h i s t e s t s was s i m i l a r to the matrix task. In t h i s , as i n the other t a s k s , he found that subitem responses were i n c o n s i s t e n t . Smedslund g e n e r a l l y found t h a t there was a low index of homogeneity among h i s set of items and concluded t h a t "concrete reasoning has a very l i m i t e d g e n e r a l i t y during the p e r i o d o f a c q u i s i t i o n . " On the 53 b a s i s of h i s r e s u l t s he f e l t t h a t there was no c l e a r evidence t h a t c h i l d r e n a p p l i e d the same inference p a t t e r n s c o n s i s t e n t l y i n d i f f e r e n t tasks and w i t h d i f f e r e n t s t i m u l i . In a l a t e r study Smedslund (1966) attempted to keep the stimulus s i t u a t i o n s constant while v a r y i n g the inference p a t t e r n s between t a s k s . He found t h a t the same l o g i c a l task s t r u c t u r e w i t h i d e n t i c a l p e r c e p t u a l features s t i l l r e s u l t e d i n widely d i f f e r e n t s o l u t i o n frequencies. One f a c t o r which was found to i n f l u e n c e r e s u l t s was the p o s i t i o n of the task i n the s e r i e s . Smedslund concluded t h a t tasks r e q u i r e d much more d e t a i l e d a n a l y s i s before making comparisons from them. 2. F l a v e l l and Wo h l w i l l I t i s not only the tasks t h a t lead to problems w i t h comparisons, but the subjects themselves. We can expect to f i n d t h a t c h i l d r e n who are i n the t r a n s i t i o n p e r i o d w i l l be i n c o n s i s t e n t i n t h e i r performance ( F l a v e l l and W o h l w i l l , 1969). Since new s t r u c t u r e s are being formed, the c h i l d ' s responses w i l l vary from one occasion to the next and w i l l be p a r t i c u l a r l y s u s c e p t i b l e to t a s k - r e l a t e d v a r i a b l e s . P i a g e t himself has described the t r a n s i t i o n p e r i o d as one when s t a b i l i z a t i o n occurs and has noted t h a t there are d i f f e r e n c e s i n performance across t a s k s . He has l a b e l l e d these d i f f e r e n c e s " h o r i z o n t a l decalages." U n f o r t u n a t e l y , he has not proposed s p e c i f i c f a c t o r s to account f o r them. 3. K l a h r and Wallace Klahr and Wallace (1970) hoped t o a r r i v e at a more complete and s p e c i f i c d e s c r i p t i o n of the processes underlying performance on P i a g e t i a n tasks by using an informa t i o n processing a n a l y s i s . They formulated r o u t i n e s f o r seven of the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n tasks used by Kofsky (1966). One of these 54 was the h o r i z o n t a l r e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task which i s the same as the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task i n the present study. They describe i t as " e s s e n t i a l l y an exhaustive s o r t done tw i c e , w i t h a d i f f e r e n t c r i t e r i a l a t t r i b u t e each time." T h e i r a n a l y s i s i s b r i e f l y as f o l l o w s : At f i r s t the r o u t i n e n o t i c e s an o b j e c t , then a value of the o b j e c t , and then the a t t r i b u t e of the n o t i c e d value. The a t t r i b u t e then c o n t r o l s the f i r s t s o r t . A f t e r the f i r s t exhaustive s o r t i s completed, the experimenter intervenes to reassemble the s t i m u l i and to give f u r t h e r i n s t r u c t i o n s , such as "I want you t o put the blocks together a d i f f e r e n t way." The r o u t i n e s h i f t s a t t e n t i o n from obj e c t to value to a t t r i b u t e once more, but w i t h an added step to ensure t h a t the same a t t r i b u t e i s not used again f o r the second s o r t . Such a r o u t i n e has the l i m i t a t i o n t h a t there i s no encoding of the p h y s i c a l s i t u a t i o n , the l i n g u i s t i c requirements, or i n t e r a c t i o n s of m o t i v a t i o n a l and a t t e n t i o n a l f a c t o r s . Klahr and Wallace concluded t h a t even though the reasoning processes i n a set of tasks may be p a r a l l e l , any attempt to remove sources of v a r i a t i o n between tasks may be doomed to f a i l u r e because m o t i v a t i o n a l and a t t e n t i o n a l f a c t o r s are always present and w i l l produce i n c o n s i s t e n c y . Their c o n c l u s i o n would appear to be v a l i d f o r the tasks used here. 4. Kofsky Going back to the Kofsky (1966) study, the r e s u l t s obtained there appeared to support the Klahr and Wallace a n a l y s i s . Kofsky found l i t t l e c onsistency i n her s u b j e c t s ' performance not only between tasks but on any one task. She noted t h a t many subjects f a i l e d the two s o r t i n g t a s k s , Exhaustive S o r t i n g and H o r i z o n t a l R e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n , e i t h e r because they were unable to form c o n s i s t e n t c l a s s e s or because they could not use the s p e c i f i c 55 r u l e r e q u i r e d by the task. Kofsky hypothesized t h a t the younger c h i l d r e n who f a i l e d should have done so because they were i n c o n s i s t e n t s o r t e r s but such was not the case. She a l s o noted t h a t t h e o r e t i c a l l y the i n a b i l i t y t o form more than one task at a time should be more frequent among younger subjects but i t was not. Kofsky suggested s e v e r a l reasons why her study d i d not support the idea of a f i x e d sequence of stages i n a c q u i r i n g c l a s s i f i c a t i o n a b i l i t y . One reason was t h a t young c h i l d r e n are as a general r u l e u n r e l i a b l e i n t h e i r performance probably because they do not f e e l a need t o be c o n s i s t e n t . For t h i s reason a b r i e f sample of t h e i r behaviour may not provide a r e l i a b l e measure of t h e i r a b i l i t i e s . Another p o i n t was t h a t even the simplest s k i l l s probably r e q u i r e a f a i r l y long p e r i o d of c o n s o l i d a t i o n during which they may be used c o r r e c t l y i n some s i t u a t i o n s but not i n others. Therefore i t w i l l be d i f f i c u l t to decide i f a c h i l d has achieved the same degree of mastery on any two t a s k s . As f o r the tasks themselves, v a r i a t i o n s i n i n s t r u c t i o n s and m a t e r i a l could be a p o s s i b l e strong i n f l u e n c e on performance. 5. Campione and Brown Other s t u d i e s have shown t h a t where tasks r e q u i r e the same r u l e knowledge, kindergarten-age c h i l d r e n do not e f f e c t i v e l y t r a n s f e r t h a t knowledge from one task t o another of a d i f f e r e n t format (Campione and Brown, 1974) . The s t r u c t u r e of the task i t s e l f i s seemingly a p a r t of the problem. Campione and Brown found i n t h e i r research t h a t t r a n s f e r was greater when the same s t i m u l i were used i n t r a i n i n g and t r a n s f e r . These f i n d i n g s l e d to t h e i r c o n t e x t u a l elements hypothesis. This hypothesis says t h a t contextual cues present during t r a i n i n g serve as r e t r i e v a l cues 56 to determine which aspects of the s i t u a t i o n to r e t a i n and use on subsequent problems. Such cues may favour t r a n s f e r or work against i t . In the case of the subjects used i n the present experiment, they were f a m i l i a r w i t h the s o r t of s t i m u l i used i n the study because the kindergarten teacher had used s i m i l a r geometric forms i n a p e r c e p t u a l t r a i n i n g programme. The c h i l d r e n had used these shapes to create various designs. This type of a c t i v i t y may have l e d them to approach the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n and matrix tasks as problems which demanded design c r e a t i o n . At any r a t e , c r e a t i n g designs was one of the most frequent i n c o r r e c t responses i n these t a s k s . A c e r t a i n amount of prompting was used to d i v e r t them from t h i s type of response w i t h v a r y i n g degrees of success. The experience the c h i l d r e n had had w i t h perceptual t r a i n i n g may have c o n t r i b u t e d to the f a c t t h a t most of them were q u i t e competent i n c l a s s i f y i n g according to shape, c o l o u r and s i z e using these dimensions one at a time. However, the tasks r e q u i r e d the simultaneous d i s c r i m i n a t i o n of two dimensions and t h i s was a new problem f o r them. For some c h i l d r e n negative t r a n s f e r may have been operating to cause them to respond i n an accustomed way i n s t e a d of to the experimenter's i n s t r u c t i o n s . The Value of Further E x p l o r a t i o n of the Problem I t i s evident t h a t numbers of researchers have encountered d i f f i c u l t y when comparing various tasks t o f i n d out about c h i l d r e n ' s c o g n i t i v e development. I t seems th a t the task s t r u c t u r e , stimulus v a l u e s , language, e t c . , are always p a r t of the problem along w i t h the s p e c i f i c concept, r u l e or inference p a t t e r n t h a t i s being s t u d i e d . Nevertheless, i t should be p o s s i b l e to assess the r o l e of a l l these f a c t o r s more p r e c i s e l y 57 and to s t r u c t u r e experiments so t h a t there are fewer v a r i a b l e s to contend w i t h . For t h i s end, the P i a g e t i a n tasks present q u i t e a challenge. Although there have been attempts to create more standardized forms, i t seems t h a t much more could be done i n t h i s area. There a l s o appear to be endless p o s s i b i l i t i e s i n b r i n g i n g together b e h a v i o u r i s t methodology and P i a g e t i a n theory. One study using such an approach was undertaken by Gholson, O'Connor and Stern (1976) i n order to i n v e s t i g a t e the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the c h i l d ' s P i a g e t i a n stage l e v e l and h i s method of s o l v i n g d i s c r i m i n a t i o n problems. These were simple d i s c r i m i n a t i o n problems of the s o r t used i n the f i r s t phase of the s h i f t task. The i n v e s t i g a t o r s were i n t e r e s t e d i n the type of hypothesis the c h i l d was u s i n g ; e.g., stimulus preference, p o s i t i o n a l t e r n a t i o n , f o c u s i n g , e t c . This i s a d i f f e r e n t l i n e of i n v e s t i g a t i o n from the present study but the r e s u l t s are suggestive. The authors found strong support f o r the P i a g e t i a n view t h a t c o g n i t i v e a b i l i t y i s (at l e a s t i n part) stage dependent. However, there was a l s o support f o r the hypothesis t h a t stimulus d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n t r a i n i n g w i t h feedback would improve performance. The authors suggested t h a t a synthesis of the P i a g e t i a n p e r s p e c t i v e and conventional l e a r n i n g theory was r e q u i r e d to describe developmental phenomena r e l a t i n g to problem s o l v i n g . Results of I n d i v i d u a l Tasks 1. The C l a s s i f i c a t i o n Task The r e s u l t s of the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task used i n t h i s study suggested two sources of d i f f i c u l t y f o r these s u b j e c t s . The m a j o r i t y of the c h i l d r e n could do a one-way c l a s s i f i c a t i o n w i t h a l l three stimulus sets 58 but when asked to c l a s s i f y the s e t a d i f f e r e n t way, the percentage of s u c c e s s f u l responses immediately dropped to 52.8% f o r one c o r r e c t s e t , 41.1% f o r two, and 23.5% f o r a l l three s e t s . Thus s o r t i n g on a new dimension was a major source of d i f f i c u l t y . This problem of s h i f t i n g the c r i t e r i a f o r s o r t i n g was des c r i b e d by Kofsky and Osier (1967) as the p r i n c i p a l reason f o r f a i l u r e f o r t h e i r 5-year-old s u b j e c t s . I t i s a l s o apparent from the d i s t r i b u t i o n of scores (Table I I I , p. 47) th a t the stimulus dimensions (colour, s i z e , form) were another f a c t o r a f f e c t i n g s o l u t i o n ; otherwise, i f the c h i l d could do one two-way c l a s s i f i c a t i o n he should have been able to do them a l l . The f a c t o r operat-ing here might be explained i n terms of pe r c e p t u a l s a l i e n c e (Odom, As t o r and Cunningham, 1965). Odom found t h a t when the s o l u t i o n - r e l e v a n t i n f o r m a t i o n was h i g h l y s a l i e n t f o r the c h i l d , performance was improved. A l s o , when r e l e v a n t i n f o r m a t i o n was low i n s a l i e n c e , s o l u t i o n s were ret a r d e d . The perc e p t u a l s a l i e n c e view could be advanced as a p o s s i b l e explanation f o r the i n c o n s i s t e n t r e s u l t s obtained by the c h i l d r e n i n t h i s experiment. I f the dimension was s a l i e n t f o r them, they could achieve a s o l u t i o n but i f i t was not s u f f i c i e n t l y s a l i e n t , they f a i l e d . I t i s not easy to see how the d i f f i c u l t y of r e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n could be explained i n terms of mediation (Kendler and Kendler, 1962) or perceptual d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n (Tighe and Tighe, 1968) si n c e most subjects were able to deal w i t h the very same stimulus dimensions i n the one-way c l a s s i f i c a t i o n . However, a t t e n t i o n theory may be able t o o f f e r a t l e a s t a p a r t i a l e x p l a n a t i o n . The c h i l d r e n could be s a i d to have t r o u b l e attending to the r e l e v a n t s t i m u l i f o r r e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n . Having chosen to s o r t f i r s t on the b a s i s of one a t t r i b u t e such as s i z e , they then had d i f f i c u l t y changing the focus of t h e i r a t t e n t i o n to a new a t t r i b u t e such as form. 59 The Klahr and Wallace (1970) i n f o r m a t i o n processing a n a l y s i s agrees w i t h the n o t i o n t h a t a t t e n t i o n a l mechanisms are c r u c i a l i n t h i s task. P i a g e t , of course, has observed t h i s problem and described i t i n terms of " a b s t r a c t i n g the c r i t e r i a of a c l a s s i f i c a t i o n " (Inhelder and P i a g e t , 1964) . He ex p l a i n s t h a t the l o g i c i n v o l v e d i n t h i s o p e r a t i o n grows out of the ac t i o n s of grouping and regrouping. I t i s a l s o p o s s i b l e to th i n k of the act i o n s of the c h i l d i n grouping and regrouping as l e a d i n g to increased a t t e n t i o n to the r e l e v a n t s t i m u l i . I f t h i s i s so, then the opportunity to l e a r n from experience would be an important f a c t o r i n the c h i l d ' s success i n t h i s task. I t would a l s o be the case t h a t a t t e n t i o n theory and Pi a g e t are i n agreement i n t h i s matter. 2. The M a t r i x Task The matrix task produced a bimodal d i s t r i b u t i o n of r e s u l t s ; the c h i l d r e n e i t h e r performed very w e l l (32% with p e r f e c t scores) or q u i t e p o o r l y (23.5% scored 1 or 0 p o i n t s ) . The low scorers could be s a i d to have no r e a l understanding of the matrix s i n c e they could have obtained t h e i r one p o i n t simply by guessing. I t should a l s o be noted t h a t matrix task r e s u l t s d i d not c o r r e l a t e w i t h the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n task, although Piaget's a n a l y s i s suggested t h a t s i m i l a r processes were i n v o l v e d i n both. These f a c t s suggest t h a t the matrix may present s p e c i a l problems f o r c h i l d r e n because of i t s format. I t may be t h a t c h i l d r e n r e q u i r e some experience w i t h the g r i d p a t t e r n and some s p e c i a l i n s t r u c t i o n s on the idea of p a r a l l e l i s m i n both the rows and columns before they can master t h i s task. The study by Overton and Brodzinsky (1972) supports t h i s argument since they found th a t a l i n e a r arrangement of the s t i m u l i and s p e c i a l i n s t r u c t i o n s on the r u l e i n v o l v e d l e d to s i g n i f i c a n t l y more s o l u t i o n s . 60 3. The Reversal S h i f t Task During the course of administering the re v e r s a l s h i f t task some i n t e r e s t i n g responses were noted. In the i n i t i a l phase of the task, the idea of continuity learning was- not borne out with most ch i l d r e n . Investigation of the protocols revealed that most c h i l d r e n responded at a chance l e v e l up to a ce r t a i n point, then seemed to a r r i v e at a correct hypothesis and solve the discr i m i n a t i o n . The Kendlers' mediational hypothesis was supported by the pattern of responses on the second phase of the s h i f t . In the great majority of cases (71%) the second di s c r i m i n a t i o n was solved within 20 t r i a l s . In 53% of cases, c r i t e r i o n was attained within 11 t r i a l s , meaning that a f t e r the c h i l d guessed c o r r e c t l y or i n c o r r e c t l y on the f i r s t t r i a l , the remaining responses were correct. This f i n d i n g suggests that these c h i l d r e n r a p i d l y reversed t h e i r previous correct response. However, when the experiment continued with a d d i t i o n a l s t i m u l i these subjects d i d not always end up being classed as reversers. This response pattern along with various comments made by the chil d r e n indicated that some of them were using more elaborate hypotheses than necessary for t h i s task. Some of them may have abandoned t h e i r r e v e r s a l response when they observed the introduction of new s t i m u l i . Summary While the tasks considered i n d i v i d u a l l y produced r e s u l t s i n agreement with previous studies, the expected r e l a t i o n s h i p s among them were not supported by the evidence. The absence of supporting evidence may have been due to the r e s t r i c t e d age range of the subjects. But, i n general, 61 those who performed w e l l on one task d i d not n e c e s s a r i l y do w e l l on the others. Some reasons have been suggested f o r t h i s lack of agreement: CD d i f f e r e n c e s i n task format, (2) d i f f e r e n c e s i n v e r b a l requirements, (3) d i f f e r e n c e s i n the a t t e n t i o n a l requirements of t a s k s , (4) d i f f e r e n c e s i n s k i l l s , knowledge and sets t r a n s f e r r e d from other t a s k s , (5) m o t i v a t i o n a l f a c t o r s , (6) l a c k of consistency i n c h i l d r e n ' s performance. Although the r e s u l t s of t h i s study were i n c o n c l u s i v e , i t d i d suggest a value i n attempting to i n t e g r a t e methods and hypotheses from the t r a d i t i o n a l l e a r n i n g theory approach w i t h P i a g e t i a n methods and theory. Both schools have c o n t r i b u t e d to our understanding of the way c h i l d r e n l e a r n concepts and c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s . 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