ERIC Number: EJ784782
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Feb
Reference Count: 0
The Control of Instrumental Action Following Outcome Devaluation in Young Children Aged between 1 and 4 Years
Klossek, U. M. H.; Russell, J.; Dickinson, A.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, v137 n1 p39-51 Feb 2008
To determine the role of action-outcome learning in the control of young children's instrumental behavior, the authors trained 18- to 48-month-olds to manipulate visual icons on a touch-sensitive display to obtain different types of video clips as outcomes. Subsequently, one of the outcomes was devalued by repeated exposure, and children's propensity to perform the trained actions was tested in extinction. On test, children with a mean age greater than 2.5 years performed the action trained with the devalued outcome less than those trained with the still-valued outcome, thereby demonstrating that their actions were mediated by action-outcome learning. By contrast, the instrumental responses of younger children (mean age less than 2 years) were resistant to outcome devaluation and may have been elicited directly by the icons associated with each response, rather than mediated by a specific action-outcome expectation.
Descriptors: Young Children, Child Behavior, Responses, Mediation Theory, Experiential Learning, Outcomes of Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Authoring Institution: N/A