ERIC Number: ED244247
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984
Reference Count: 0
Knowledge-Derived Categorization in Young Children.
Chi, Michelene T. H.
This study attempted to explain the findings of classical studies about young children's classification ability, namely that young children: (1) categorize on the basis of perceptual or concrete properties, (2) classify in a linear, nonhierarchical manner, and (3) use inconsistent criteria for classification. The study further proposed that children's classification outcomes are a function of the knowledge that they have and the representation that the knowledge takes. Two study approaches were used. First, group of seven-year-olds was divided into expert and novice groups based on the children's knowledge about dinosaurs. Both groups were asked to sort 20 dinosaur pictures into as many groups as they wished. Results indicated that when knowledge was available, as was the case with the expert children, they could classifiy hierarchically at the superordinate level. The novice children tended to classify at the basic level, relying primarily on perceptual features. The results suggested that the expert children's ability to classify at the superordinate level was due to the fact that their knowledge was already organized in such a way as to permit retrieval of this organization. The second study approach involved single, within-subject designs applied to four and five-year-olds. Results of these demonstrations indicated that (1) young children's representations may be hierarchical and consistent but fail to match the canonical form that the experimenter expects and (2) that young children may be inconsistent in their sorting criteria for an unfamiliar set of objects but be very consistent in their sorting criteria for a familiar set of objects. (CRH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Spencer Foundation, Chicago, IL.; Pittsburgh Univ., PA. Learning Research and Development Center.
Note: Reprint from: Rogers, D. R., Ed. and Sloboda, J. A., Ed. Acquisition of Symbolic Skills. New York, Plenum Publishing Corporation, 1983.