ERIC Number: ED182761
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Jan
Reference Count: 0
The Spontaneous Production of Analogies by Grade School Children. Technical Report No. 13.
Mendelsohn, Eve; And Others
A study charting the development of grade school children's analogic reasoning used 26 second, fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students from lower middle class and higher middle class schools. The children were asked to explain concrete, interactive, and abstract concepts to an imaginary creature (a puppet). For half the items, an initial period of spontaneous discussion was followed by questions that directed the children to make comparisons. Responses were examined for the number of analogies used, the degree of tension captured in the comparison, and the children's tendencies to explicate their comparisons. The results documented an increase with age in the number of analogies produced, the amount of tension present in the comparison, and the children's tendencies to explain their associations. A period of literalness and conventionality during the middle years of grade school was suggested by a drop in the creativity of spontaneous analogies by fourth grade students. These children showed more benefits from direct questioning than the older and younger subjects, who performed better in "freer" situations. Analysis of item types showed that concepts which presented a moderate but not insuperable challenge were most likely to encourage the production of analogies. (Author/RL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.; National Science Foundation, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA. Harvard Project Zero.