UBC Theses and Dissertations
Relationships between above-average preschool children’s transfer in classification learning and their cognitive abilities Von Wittgenstein, Holly E.
The relationship between a preschool child's level of intelligence, as measured by the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test (Form L-M), and his ability to perform classification tasks is investigated. The child's ability to generalize or to spontaneously apply previously learned concepts to similar but not identical tasks is assessed. The sample is composed of 43 three and four year old children who range from average to superior intelligence. It was originally hypothesized that those children having superior I.Q. scores would spontaneously apply learned concepts to new situations with or without the aid of prompting. Those children having the lower I.Q. scores were expected to require prompting before learned concepts would be applied in novel situations. The results were not completely as predicted. While the four year old groups generally followed the predicted pattern, the three year old groups showed some variation from the pattern predicted. The higher I.Q. three-year-olds made strong gains when prompted, whereas the lower I.Q. level group exhibited only losses when prompted. With the four-year-olds, there was little difference between the prompted and the non-prompted higher I.Q. group, whereas the lower I.Q. group receiving prompting did as well as or better than the non-prompted group. In either instance, age was found to be a major limiting factor. While not allowing for a parsimonious interpretation the results do indicate the usefulness of two hypotheses, spontaneity and optimal use, in accounting for differences in the transfer abilities of the preschool children.