Call to Order: Four-Year-Olds Exhibit Difficulty Self-Deriving Knowledge through Integration of Ordered Facts Open Access

Yates, Tristan (Spring 2018)

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The productive extension of knowledge through the integration of semantic facts acquired in separate but related episodes of new learning is crucial in the building of one’s knowledge base. The association between self-derivation through integration (SDI) and academic achievement in both children and adults calls for further examination of the factors that influence young children’s SDI performance. The current investigation was conducted to explore one factor that may affect children’s ability to integrate novel facts: the relations between the to-be-integrated facts (hereafter, “stem facts”). Four-year-olds were assigned to one of two conditions. Children were either presented with facts that required hierarchical ordering for integration (linear condition; A>B, B>C, therefore A>C) or facts that did not require hierarchical ordering (nonlinear condition; A = B, B = C, therefore A = C). In both conditions, children demonstrated low SDI performance in an open-ended format, consistent with previous studies (e.g., Bauer & San Souci, 2010). In a forced-choice test, children were significantly more likely to select the correct integration fact in the nonlinear condition. Differences in memory for the stem facts in the linear and nonlinear conditions may help explain the difference in integration performance: whereas stem fact memory was greater than chance in the nonlinear condition, in the linear condition, performance did not differ from chance. Together, these results suggest that young children may have particular difficulty self-deriving new knowledge when integrating across ordered relative to non-ordered facts; the difference may be due to the nature of the relations or to differential stem fact memory.    

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Section      Page Number

Introduction 1

Method 10

            Participants 10

            Materials and Measures 11

            Procedure 13

            Data Analysis and Scoring 15

Results  16

            Self-Derivation Performance 16

            Stem Fact Performance 16

            Within-Child Self-Derivation 18

            Correlations 19

Discussion 21

Conclusions 28

References 29

Tables 34

Figures 41

Appendices 47


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