Samuel and Bryant (1983)

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Title of the study?
'Asking only one question in the conversation experiment'
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Context of the study?
Piaget's theory and Piaget's conservation task
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What is meant by Conservation?
The ability to distinguish between reality and appearance, for example to understand that quantity is not changed even when a display is transformed.
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What were the 4 stages of Piaget's stages of development?
Sensorimotor, Preoperational, Concrete Operational and Formal Operational
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When does the Sensorimotor stage occur and what happens during it?
0-2 years and they learn to distinguish themselves from the environment using the senses.
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When does the Preoperational stage occur and what happens during it?
2-7 years and they learn to use symbolism and language. However they are egocentric as they can ONLY see their point of view.
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When does the Concrete Operational stage occur and what happens during it?
7-12 years and they learn to solve problems with concrete objects showing they can now conserve.
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When does the Formal Operational stage occur and what happens during it?
12-adult and they learn to solve problems with thinking alone. They can now deal with the hypothetical and the abstract.
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At what age did Piaget say children could conserve from?
7 years
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Why was he criticised in his conservation task?
He asked the same question twice that might have confused the children and encouraged them to give a different answer.
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Who criticised him for this?
Margaret Donaldson
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Aim of the study?
To investigate whether younger children demonstrate a better grasp of a conservation if they are asked one question instead of two.
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What previous study tested this using ONLY 6 year old children?
Rose and Blank (1974)
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How many P's were there in total?
252 boys and girls
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What were the children aged between?
5 and 8.5 years
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Sampling methodology?
Opportunity sample from Crediton in Devon.
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How many mean age groups were the children divided into?
4 mean age groups
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What were these groups?
5 years, 3 months + 6 years, 3 months + 7 years, 3 months + 8 years, 3 months
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2 strengths of the sample?
Children of various ages used (able to see development of conservation skills) and Opportunity sample means it's quick and easy to recruit.
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2 weaknesses of the sample?
Limited to Devon (Can't generalise) and Potential for biased sample (drawn from a small part of target population).
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Research Method used?
One part = Laboratory experiment using independent measures (condition) and Repeated measures (materials).
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What else can the study be classed as?
A Quasi experiment using an independent measures design.
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Was the study Snapshot or Longitudinal?
Snapshot
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Independent variables of a Laboratory study?
Condition (Standard, 1-question + control) and Materials
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Dependent variables of a Laboratory study?
Errors made (i.e. NOT conserving quantity)
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2 Hypotheses of a Laboratory study?
P's make more errors in the standard condition than the 1-question condition and There is an association between errors + materials used.
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Independent variables of a Quasi experiment?
Age
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Dependent variables of a Quasi experiment?
Success on conservation tasks
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Hypothesis of a Quasi experiment?
Younger children make more errors than older children
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2 strengths of the Research method?
Lab allows cause and effect to be established and artificial setting is easy to control and therefore replicate.
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2 weaknesses of the Research method?
Lab - Lacks ecological validity (Not true representation) and Snapshot means comparisons are made between children of different ages showing no control for participant variables.
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How many parts was the procedure split into? and what were they?
3 parts: Number of Questions, Age and Materials.
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What were the experimental conditions in the Number of Questions part?
Standard condition, One question condition and Fixed Array
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What was the Standard condition?
The question "Are they the same?" asked twice (as used in Piaget's task)
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What was the One question condition?
The key question only asked ONCE after the transformation (as used by Rose and Blank)
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What was the Fixed Array?
A control condition where the key question was asked once BUT there was NO transformation.
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What occurred during the age part?
The 4 mean age groups were tested and each group was subdivided into the 3 task groups from the Number of Questions part.
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What were the materials used to test the P's?
Mass, Number and Volume
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How many times were the P's tested on each material?
4 times
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How did they use Mass in the study?
P's were shown a plasticine cylinder that was then made flatter (looking like more) and depending on their condition they were asked the key question.
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How did they use Number in the study?
A row of counters were spread out so the row was longer and they were then asked the key question.
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How did they use Volume in the study?
A glass was filled with water and then transferred to a taller, thinner beaker so the water level was higher. They were then asked the question.
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What did the condition differences show about the fewest errors?
Fewest errors made on 1-question condition (mean of 4 per child compared to mean of 5 in standard condition)
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What did the condition differences show about the most errors?
Most errors made in Fixed Array (mean of 6 per child).
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What does this show?
Children who conserved used information from the pre-transformation display to answer the final question correctly.
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What did Age show about the mean number of errors across ALL conditions? (4 pieces of data)
5 year old group: 8.1 errors, 6 year old group: 5.5 errors, 7 year old group: 3.6 errors and 8 year old group: 2.1 errors.
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What data was gathered relating to age and condition? (2 pieces)
For EVERY condition, youngest children made most errors and For ALL age groups (except 7 year olds), P's performed better on one-question than standard condition.
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What data was gathered relating to Materials?
Fewer errors made on number task (mean of 4.0) and most errors made on Volume task (mean of 5.9).
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2 strengths of quantitative data in the study?
Easy to compare performance of different age groups on performance and Easy to draw conclusions.
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2 weaknesses of quantitative data in the study?
Oversimplifies the differences and Knowledge produced might be too general for application
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True/False: The results show that Piaget's methods were flawed. If so why?
True because 2-questions confused the children.
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What can be concluded from this regarding certain cognitive abilities in children?
They may possess certain cognitive abilities BUT may not display these when tested if the method is flawed.
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Ethical Issues with the study?
Informed Consent and Psychological harm
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Possible applications of the study?
Piaget's theory could be used in education, e.g. theory suggests that children should ONLY do certain activities when they are ready for that kind of thinking.
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Possible changes to the study?
More diverse sample of children and Allow children to play with materials before asked questions
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

Context of the study?

Back

Piaget's theory and Piaget's conservation task

Card 3

Front

What is meant by Conservation?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

What were the 4 stages of Piaget's stages of development?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

When does the Sensorimotor stage occur and what happens during it?

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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