Samuel and Bryant

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  • Created on: 09-03-13 14:58
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Samuel and Bryant (1984)
The aim of the study was to test whether the methodology used in Piaget's conservation
experiments was the reason why children under 8 years old made errors, rather than a true lack of
understanding of conservation.
Information on experiment
This was a laboratory experiment
This was an independent measured design
252 boys and girls
From a variety of schools and pre-schools in Devon
Divided into four groups by age
Each group had 63 children and the mean age for each group was 5 years and 3 months); 6
years and 3 months; 7 years and 3 months and 8 years and 3 months
Each group was then subdivided into three groups of 21 and each group was tested under a
different experimental condition
Experimental Group A Group B Group C Group D
Condition Procedure (5yrs 3 (6yrs 3 (7yrs 3 (8yrs 3
months) months) months) months)
Using the pre-
and post-
Standard transformatio 21 21 21 21
n questions as
Piaget did
The question
One was only
Judgement asked after 21 21 21 21
n took place
The children
only saw the
Fixed-Array objects after
(Control) they had been 21 21 21 21
and then

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· Each children carried out the three different conservation tasks using different materials;
o Counters for number
o Plasticine for mass
o Liquid in a glass for volume
· They had four trials on each material, making a total of 12 trails
Independent Variables
There were three independent variables.…read more

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The hypothesis that children make more errors because they are asked the question twice is
However, this evidence does not entirely negate Piaget's theory
This study confirms that children's conservation skills improve with age and also that
conservation of number is easier than volume or mass
Children can conserve number better than mass or volume
Pre-operational children can conserve better than Piaget thought
Children make less errors, the older they get; meaning that their conservation skills improve
with age…read more


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