ERIC Number: ED273350
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-May
Reference Count: 0
Unconscious Abstraction Processes: Can Children Process as Well as Adults?
Research was conducted to compare evidence of implicit processing in children and adults. Implicit processing was defined as inductive cognitive activities which enable people to abstract complex knowledge from the environment. The knowledge acquired is tacit; it guides subjects' behavior in various situations without the subjects necessarily being aware of the nature of this knowledge. The first part of the study involved 27 subjects ranging in age from 5 to 60 years, while the second part included 115 children from three age groups: 5-7, 9-11, and 12-14. In the first part of the experiment (the acquisition phase), subjects were asked to reproduce from memory sequences of simple geometric shapes whose order was determined by a complex rule system (grammar). In the second part (the testing phase) the subjects were asked to recognize these sequences from a set of instances that included three types of sequences: the familiar grammatical sequences that the subject had reproduced in part one, new grammatical sequences that were generated from the same grammar, and nongrammatical sequences that were generated by violating the grammar. Significant age differences were found in the first part of the experiment, but not in the second part. In both studies younger children performed as well as older children and adult subjects. All subjects had a harder time distinguishing between old and new sequences generated from the grammar as compared to sequences generated by violating the grammar. Therefore all the subjects exhibited some degree of abstraction of the underlying grammar. (HOD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Symposium of the Jean Piaget Society (15th, Philadelphia, PA, June 6-7, 1985).