ERIC Number: ED136932
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977-Mar
Reference Count: 0
The Misunderstanding of Instructions Explanation in Developmental Psychology.
Vago, Stephen; Siegler, Robert S.
This paper presents a framework for conceptualizing the different ways in which instructions in experimental tasks may be misunderstood. Five possible types of misunderstandings are identified and discussed: (1) misunderstanding of a particular term in the instructions; (2) misinterpretation of a task because the instructions are difficult to interpret within the context of the task; (3) misunderstanding due to instructions which exceed the child's verbal competence; (4) misunderstanding due to problems with ecological validity of the task (i.e., a task unlike anything the child has experienced); and (5) misunderstanding which occurs when processes necessary to solve the problem are also required to decode the instructions. Methods of testing for each type of misunderstanding are presented and discussed. Described is a series of experiments which tested these possible forms of misunderstanding in a task (Bruner and Kenney's fullness of a water jar problem) in which misunderstanding of the experimental instructions had been claimed to account for developmental differences in children's reasoning. Results showed little support for a misunderstanding of instructions hypothesis and instead suggested that the difficulty was in the children's inability to integrate component operations. (JMB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Mental Health (DHEW), Rockville, MD.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (New Orleans, Louisiana, March 17-20, 1977)