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ERIC Number: EJ1071554
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Sep
Pages: 28
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0022-4308
Action at an Attentional Distance: A Study of Children's Reasoning about Causes and Effects Involving Spatial and Attentional Discontinuity
Grotzer, Tina A.; Solis, S. Lynneth
Journal of Research in Science Teaching, v52 n7 p1003-1030 Sep 2015
Spatial discontinuity between causes and effects is a feature of many scientific concepts, particularly those in the environmental and ecological sciences. Causes can be spatially separated from their effects by great distances. Action at a distance, the idea that causes and effects can be separated in physical space, is a well-studied concept in developmental psychology. However, the extant literature has focused largely on cases where causes and effects are separated in physical space but are contained within the same attentional space, for instance, how magnets on a table interact or how a lamp projected against an object creates a shadow despite the spatial gap between the lamp, object, and shadow. This paper considers the understanding of causes and effects that are separated both in physical and attentional space--a concept referred to here as "action at an attentional distance." Findings from an in-depth study of second, fourth and sixth graders' (n?=?10) reasoning about action at an attentional distance are presented. Children tended to reason locally, but when they did reason about action at an attentional distance, they relied upon mechanism information and prior knowledge. The implications for causal explanation and instructional design are considered.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 2; Primary Education; Early Childhood Education; Grade 4; Intermediate Grades; Grade 6; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: DRL-0845632