UBC Theses and Dissertations
Motivation, field-dependence , and level of cognitive performance : an exploratory study with Chinese children Mao, Geraldine Eleanor
The major purpose of this study was to relate the performance of Chinese Ss in Hong Kong on Piagetian tasks to two factors: first to a cognitive style variable, and secondly, to achievement motivation. It was hoped that the results from this study would provide some new interpretation to Goodnow's (1962) findings in Hong Kong. This study also provided an opportunity to determine if Piaget's results concerning the order of acquisition of tasks as well as levels of difficulty within tasks can be replicated with Ss from another culture. Finally, the performance of a comparable group of white Canadian children was compared to the Chinese Ss both in terms of achievement on the tasks and relationship between the tasks. It was hypothesized that performance on Piagetian tasks would correlate with scores on the CEFT and with scores on n Achievement. Furthermore, it was believed that the predictions made by Piaget regarding the order of achievement on the Conservation tasks as well as the levels of difficulty within the Water Level Test will be replicated with Ss from Hong Kong. Finally, it was expected that there would be no significant difference in performance between white and Chinese Ss. Thirty-nine Ss from Hong Kong were individually tested on the following tests: Conservation of Substance, Conservation of Weight, the Water Level Test and the CEFT. Group testing was employed for administering the TAT. Scores from a group of previously tested white Ss on Conservation of Substance, Conservation of Weight, the Water Level test and the CEFT were used for comparison with the Chinese Ss. Results for both white and Chinese Ss showed that there was no significant relationship between performance on the Conservation tasks and the CEFT. A significant but low relationship was obtained between performance on the Water Level test and the CEFT for both Chinese and white Ss. Thus, in terms of relationship between Piagetian tasks and the CEFT, the findings were similar for white and Chinese Ss. There was no significant difference in performance between Chinese and white Ss on Conservation of Weight, the Water Level Test, and the CEFT. However, the white Ss performed significantly better than the Chinese Ss on Conservation of Substance. The order of achievement on the Conservation tasks predicted by Piaget was replicated with the white Ss, but the order was not clear for the Chinese sample. Developmental levels of difficulty within the Water Level Test predicted by Piaget and Inhelder was supported by the findings for both white and Chinese Ss. No significant relationship was found for the Chinese Ss between performance on any of the Piagetian tasks and n Achievement. There was some indication of a low negative relationship between Conservation of Weight and n Achievement, but this failed to reach significance at the .05 level.
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