Is It Daxing? The Effect of Learning Formats on Preschoolers' Acquisition of Novel Dynamic Relations
Creators:Welling, Cosette L.
Advisor:Kaminski, Jennifer A.
Sloutsky, Vladimir M.
MetadataShow full item record
Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Psychology Honors Theses; 2011
This study investigated whether generic stimuli improve children’s ability to acquire and transfer novel dynamic relations. Three-year-olds and four-year-olds learned a novel dynamic relation (an object disappearing), which was arbitrarily termed “daxing.” Half of the participants learned with generic stimuli and half learned with concrete stimuli. Then each participant identified novel dynamic relations as either “daxing” or “not daxing.” Results revealed both developmental and learning format trends. Four-year-olds in both conditions were more adept than three-year-olds at learning and transferring the relation. Learning formats did not significantly affect three-year-olds’ ability to transfer; however, within the four-year-olds, participants who learned with generic formats transferred significantly better than those who learned with concrete formats. Because generic stimuli are perceptually simpler and less distracting than rich stimuli, four-year-olds in the generic condition may have been better able to focus on the relation and, therefore, better able to recognize it in new contexts. These findings add to understanding of the acquisition of novel relations, demonstrating that generic learning formats, as compared to concrete formats, may lend young children an advantage not only for static, perceptual relations, but also for dynamic relations.
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