ERIC Number: ED229126
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Children's Concept Learning: The Child's Concept of Life.
Richards, D. Dean
To explore controversial findings concerning some of Piaget's claims, four experiments investigated conditions under which children use a criterion of movement in attributing life to objects. In the first experiment, children ages 4 through 7 participated in a recognition task involving the identification of objects to which they attributed life. Children's judgments were classified according to rules they appeared to use. In the second experiment, children ages 4 through 11 were asked to name as many living things as they could in 5 minutes, up to a maximum of 24. Results of the two experiments provided no evidence that children routinely identify life by observing motion. With children of 4 through 11 years of age, a third experiment explored the discrepancy between these results and previous studies by further investigating children's judgments and their explanations. It was found that one-fourth of the explanations of the youngest children referred to motion and that the use of explanations involving motion decreased with age. This result may account for Piaget's suggestion that young children identify life by observing motion. A fourth experiment investigated whether an emphasis on objects' motion states could influence children's judgments of whether an object was living or nonliving. It was found that whereas emphasis on objects' motion states had little effect on the judgments of 6- to 9-year-old children, the majority of 4- and 5-year-olds did use a rule based on the current motion state of each object. (RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Piagetian Theory
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (Detroit, MI, April 21-24, 1983).