The Visual Cliff

Child Psychology Lab 310L

 

 

Reference:

            Gibson, E. & Walk, R.D. (1960)  The Visual Cliff.  Scientific American, 202, 80-92.

 

Purpose:

            The perception of depth is a critical survival ability.  Do infants learn to avoid drop-offs such as stairwells and edges of tables, or is the perception of depth something "born into" the child?  Gibson and Walk (1960) demonstrated that infants old enough to crawl can perceive and avoid a "cliff".  We will attempt to partially replicate their work.

 

Design:

            This will be a restricted, reactive, systematic observation with an intervention.  For each infant, we will note whether the child chooses the deep or the shallow side on each trial.  After pooling the data in class, we will be able to calculate the percentage of those infants exhibiting depth perception.

 

Materials:

            A visual cliff apparatus similar to that used by Gibson and Walk (1960) is available in the lab.  In addition, you will need to record your descriptive data.

 

Subjects:

            You will need an infant close to 9 months of age.  You may only choose infants old enough to creep or crawl.  They may be younger than 9 months so long as they can move about like this.  On the other hand, a 9 month-old who cannot yet crawl should not take part in this project.

 

 

Testing Procedure

 

            Test one child on the cliff at a time.  Note the child's first name, age, and gender.  You may also want to note anything you know, or that the parent may tell you, about the infant that might affect the child's performance.  Has the child been sick, or confined from moving about?  Have they ever fallen from beds, couches, etc.?  How long have they been crawling about?  Finally, you should ask the parents if they believe their child can perceive depth, and why they believe that.

 

1.   Following this background information, have the parent or caretaker place the child on the center platform on the visual cliff.  Please remove shoes with bells or buckles, anything that might scratch the glass top.  The baby should be placed on its stomach, or on hands and knees, as much toward the center of the platform as possible, and facing the parent on the longer side of the cliff.  Do not place the child in such as way that the child faces either the shallow or the deep side of the cliff as this might bias their response.  Have the parent hold the infant in this position until you are ready to begin recording.

 

2.   You must assume a position on the opposite side of the cliff.  You should be directly opposite the parent.  The infant's back should be toward you.  Tell the parent to release the child and step away from the cliff.  The parent should walk to the deep side of the cliff, and call the child to that side.  Do not allow the parent to place anything, such as keys or a toy, on the glass itself.  They can wave such things at the infant, but we do not want to give clues to the child that there is a solid surface there and not a cliff.

 

3.   Record the child's reaction in as much detail as you can.  Does the infant follow the parent?  Does she pat the glass?  Are there signs of fear or upset?  Finally, if the glass were not there, would the child have fallen despite awareness of the drop-off.

 

4.   Return the infant to its position on the center platform.  Have the parent hold the child there and comfort him until you are ready for the second test trial.

 

5.   On the second trial, have the parent release the child and walk to the shallow end of the cliff.  The care taker should again call to the infant to follow.

 

6.   Again record the child's reaction in as much detail as possible.  Does she follow the caretaker?  Are there any signs of hesitancy, fear or upset?  Would the child have fallen off the deep side, or was it entirely avoided?

 

7.   Repeat the above two trials, one with the deep side, one with the shallow side.  Record the infant's behavior each time.

 

 

Lab Write-up

 

This is to be a partial APA-style paper.  Include a title page, an abstract, results for the child you tested as well as the pooled class results, a discussion, a reference, a figure caption page, and a figure.

 

 

 

 


 

Conjugate Reinforcement of Infant Behavior

Child Psychology Lab 310L

 

 

Reference:

      Rovee, C. & Rovee, D. (1969).  Conjugate reinforcement of infant exploratory behavior.  Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 8, 33-39.

 

Purpose:

      The infant has received increasing amounts of research attention in the last 20 years.  One topic of interest is infants' attempts to explore and control the world around them.  A behavior the infant produces which results in an interesting consequence is likely to be repeated over and over again.  The "interesting consequence" can be viewed as a reinforcement, which increases the probability of the re-occurence of the behavior.  Conjugate reinforcement situations are those in which the reinforcing event is continuously available, but the intensity of the event is a direct consequence of the rate of behavior.  We are interested in using a conjugate reinforcement situation to demonstrate the infants' motivation to control their surroundings.

 

Design:

      A.  Traditionally, Skinnerian Behaviorists analyzed the data for each subject separately, in graph form.   The graphs of various subjects were then compared to see if their pattern was the same.  There was no statistical analysis.  Such research was an example of a "single-subject design".

 

      B.  It is also possible to pool the data from a group of infants and analyze the changes in behavior over time for the group as a whole.  Time would be treated as an independent variable with 3 levels.  Since each infant experiences all three time periods, this would be an example of a "One-way Repeated Measures Design".

 

Materials:

      A wooden mobile crib-chime has been provided.  This chime has a central knob which produces sound when pulled.  To enable the infant to work the chime, you must attach the infant to the central knob with a string, pinned to the child's sock, shoe, or sleeper-foot.  You will also need to record responses, and will need a watch to monitor time intervals.

 

Subjects:

      The ideal age for this is about 10-15 weeks.  Older infants are more active, but tend to have the coordination to get the string in hand and pull the mobile down.  Younger infants tend to have a fixed focus and can only clearly see objects if they are 8-10 inches away from their faces.  Try to get an infant as close to the ideal as possible.

 

 

Testing Procedure

 

l.    You must find a way to hang the mobile over the infant's bed or crib.  It should hang so that it is 10-12 inches over the child's head.

 

2.   Place the infant directly beneath the mobile so that the child is facing it, but DO NOT ATTACH THE BABY TO THE MOBILE AS YET.  We will first collect a baseline of responding.  Stand at the side of the infant's crib, above the child's head, so that you are out of the child's sight.  Watch the infant's right foot, and count the number of kicks, or distinct movements the child makes with that foot.  Record the number of kicks for 3 minutes.

 

3.   Now ATTACH THE MOBILE TO THE CHILD.  Tie a string to the pull knob of the mobile, and pin the remaining end of the string to the infant's right sock, sleeper foot, or shoe.  The string should have some slack in it so that the child's foot can rest comfortably on the bed, yet a kick should be sufficient to move the mobile.

 

4.   Return to the crib side, out of sight of the child, and again watch for foot kicks with the right foot.  Record the child's kicks in 3-minute intervals for 9 minutes.  (You may want to ask the child's mother to time for you and let you know as each 3-minute interval is over.)

 

5.   The final phase of the design is an extinction period.  This part may be upsetting for the infant.  You must untie the string from the mobile, so that it is no longer attached to the mobile but remains pinned to the infant's sock.  Step back to your spot by the crib and record the infant's right foot kicks for the next 3 minutes.

 

      (If the baby fusses or cries so that you feel uncomfortable continuing with extinction feel free to stop.  You may want to end on a happy note and re-attach the child to the mobile for a bit too.)

 

 

 

Data Analysis

 

1.    Make a graph of the child's responses, showing the number of responses per unit of time.  This graph represents the infant's rate of response.

 

 

Number of       l

Foot Kicks       l        

                          l

                          l

                          l

                          l_______|_______|_______|_______|_______|______

      Minutes                      3               6              9             12             15

                                    Baseline               Acquisition              Extinction

 

 

2.   Note whether or not the child learned to control the mobile.  Did the rate of response during acquisition increase over the baseline rate?

 

3.   Was there a decline in response rate during extinction?  Was the child emotional in any way during extinction?

 

4.   In class we will pool the data for all the infants tested and create a graph of the group averages for each time period..

 

 

 

Lab Write-Up

 

This is to be a partial APA-style paper.  Include a title page, an abstract, results for the child you tested as well as the pooled class results, a discussion, a reference, a figure caption page, and figures for the infant you tested as well as for the pooled class data.

 

 

 

 

 


Correlation Lab

Child Psychology Lab 310L

 

 

References:

      McGhee, P. (1979).  Humor: Its Origin and Development, San Francisco: W.H. Freeman.  (p.125-149.)

 

      Ginsburg, H. & Opper, S. (1979)  Piaget's Theory of Intellectual Development,  Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.  (p.198-205.)

 

 

Purpose:

            The appreciation and understanding of several types of humor has been related to cognitive development.  Young children appreciate simple incongruity, such as slapstick comedy or silly names.  Their humor does not require a resolution, or punchline.  School-age children appreciate formal jokes and riddles, play on words.  They need a punchline, or resolution.  Adolescents are able to appreciate more abstract forms of humor such as irony or sarcasm, and humorous monologues derived from analogies or from impossible premises. .Formal Thought as Piaget described it may be an important aspect of what adults find humorous.

 

 

Design:

            We will use a correlational design.  We will measure cognitive level using a test of Formal Operational Thought, and also measure Humor Comprehension.  The results of these two tests will then be compared with a correlation.

 

 

Materials:

             William Bart's  Formal Operations Test with instructions, answer sheets, and scoring directions is provided.  In addition, you will be given a copy of a Humor Test created by Ed Plake.

 

Subjects:

            For this study you will need to test 3 High School Age students, ages 14 - 18.

 

Procedure

 

1.    Each subject must take both tests, so that you will have two scores per person.  Since each test takes from 30 to 45 minutes, you must schedule a long block of time for testing.  Make sure each of your subjects is aware of the time commitment involved.  You may want to allow a break between tests, but try, at least, to do both tests on the same day.

 

2.    Since you have only one copy of each test, you must test subjects one at a time, or make some extra copies for testing in groups.  Have them mark their test answers on the answer sheets provided, rather than in the test booklets.

 

3.    Give the humor test first.  Give the logic test second.

 

4.     For each test, ask the subject to read the instructions on the first page of the test booklet, and let you know when he has finished.  Ask then if he has any questions before he begins.  If he is ready, provide the appropriate answer sheet, let him turn the page and start the test.

 

 

 

Data Analysis

 

1.   Find a total score for each subject on each test.

 

2.   In class, we will pool our numbers and then correlate the results of the Formal Operations Test with those of the Humor Test using the Pearson r.

 

3.   The class' pooled data must also be graphed as a Scatterplot.

 

 

Lab Write-up

 

This lab requires a partial APA paper.  It must have a title page, an abstract, a method, results, references, a figure caption page, and figure.



 

 

 

 


Conservation

Child Psychology Lab 310L

 

 

Reference:

            Rose, S.A. & Blank, M. (1974).  The potency of context in children's cognition: An illustration through conservation.  Child Development, 45, 499-502.

 

Purpose:

            Conservation is a recognition that two quantities or aspects of a situation are equal, despite incidental changes.  For example, two equal size balls of clay remain equal in weight or in amount of clay despite changes in shape.  Piaget has suggested that conservation requires the ability to reason logically about reversibility, and that this ability is characteristic of the Concrete Operational Period.  Other researchers have questioned whether Piaget has underestimated the young child.  Rose and Blank (1974) suggest the way conservation tasks are worded biases the child in the direction of an incorrect response.  Traditionally, a conservation task always begins by asking the child to judge an initial equality.  Once the child agrees the stimuli are equal the experimenter then changes the stimulus display in some incidental way and asks the child for a second judgement.  Rose and Blank (1974) say asking for a second judgement implies to the child that his first judgement is no longer correct.  Our study will partially replicate Rose and Blank (1974).  We will compare children who have taken a traditional conservation test with children who are given a single-judgement version of the same test.

 

Design:

This is a simple Between Groups design.  There is a single independent variable; Conservation Tasks, with two levels; Traditional Versions and Single-Judgement Versions.  If Rose and Blank (1974) are correct, we would hypothesize that the children who receive the Single-Judgement Versions of the Conservation Tasks would do better than the children who receive the Traditional Versions of the same tasks.

 

Materials:

There are materials for five different conservation tasks (Number, mass, continuous quantity, weight, and area).  Each of the first four tasks is done twice.  Conservation of area is done once.  Materials include:

16 one-inch wooden cubes of the same color, for number and area tasks

One can of play-doh for mass, and weight.

 Two equal-sized, clear plastic glasses, one larger, clear plastic container,

and 5-6 smaller, clear plastic vials for continuous quantity.

            Two 8.5 X 11 inch sheets of green construction paper, and two small

plastic horses for area

In addition, you will need a pad and a pencil to record your data.

 

 

Subjects:

            You will need 4 children, all of whom should be 5 to 6 years-old.  Two of these children will get Traditional Conservation Tasks, while the other two will be given a Single-Judgement Version of the same tasks.  Gender should not matter, but if you can, try to test one of each gender in each of the two types of tasks.

 

 

Procedure:

            Test each child one at a time, and do not allow the others to watch or interrupt.  Seat the child at a table or desk and sit nearby.  Keep the box of materials on your lap, not on the table, because they may distract the child.  The table should be kept clear of all materials except those needed for each task.  Follow the instructions provided for each task, recording the child's responses at the end of each task.

 

 

 

 

Conservation of Number

Part 1:

1.   Choose 16 blocks of one color, and put them on the table before the child.  Explain to the child that you are going to do a few things with these blocks, and will ask him/her to answer a few questions about the blocks.

 

2.   Make two parallel rows of 8 blocks in front of the child.  Each block should be approximately two inches from the next block in its row.  The two rows should be about four inches apart, and matched end-to-end, as follows:

 

                   X       X       X       X       X       X       X       X

 

                   X       X       X       X       X       X       X       X

 

3.   If you are testing conservation of number in the Traditional Way tell the child "There are two rows of blocks" as you point to each row.  Then ask "Does this row have the same number of blocks as this row?" and again, point to each row as you ask.  (You may have to repeat this question or rephrase it so that you are sure the child knows what you mean.) The child should agree that the two rows are equal in number.  If the child says "no", you must ask why and see if you can correct the problem.  Perhaps you can have the child count to check, or have him move the blocks a bit to make them equal.  A child who continues to maintain that these two rows are not the same number should be replaced with another child.

 

OR

 

      If you are testing the single-judgement version, tell the child "There are two rows of blocks" as you point to each row.  Then say "Watch what I do."

 

 

4.   Take the row of blocks nearest the child and push them together so their sides are touching as follows:

 

 

                   X       X       X       X       X       X       X       X

 

                                      XXXXXXXX

 

5.   Then ask "Does this row have the same number of blocks as this row?".  Again, point to each row as you ask this question.  (Again, you may have to repeat or rephrase this question so the child understands what you are after.)

 

            (Warning:   Do not ask "Which one has more?"  That wording suggests to the child that one row does have more and you bias their answer in the direction of an incorrect response.)

 

Record the child's answer.  If he answers merely "yes" or "no", ask for an explanation.  "How do you know?" or "Why?".  A Preoperational thinker should think the two rows are no longer equal in number because the length of the row has changed.  A Concrete Operational thinker should recognize the number has not changed, and give one of the following justifications:  "You did not add any or take any blocks away" (Negation).  "They are the same blocks" (Identity).  "See, all you have to do is spread them out again" (Reversibility).  "One row is shorter, but it's because there is less space between the blocks" (Compensation).  Any of these reasons is acceptable Concrete Logic.

 

 

 

Part 2:

 

6.   Choose 12 blocks of the same color and place them on the table before the child in two equal rows of 6 blocks, with their sides touching, as follows

 

                                    XXXXXX

                             XXXXXX

 

7.   If you are testing conservation of number in the Traditional way tell the child "There are two rows of blocks" as you point to each row.  Then ask "Does this row have the same number of blocks as this row?" and again, point to each row as you ask.  (You may have to repeat this question or rephrase it so that you are sure the child knows what you mean.)  The child should agree that the two rows are equal in number.  If the child says "no", you must ask why and see if you can correct the problem.  Perhaps you can have the child count to check, or have him move the blocks a bit to make them equal.  A child who continues to maintain that these two rows are not the same number should be replaced with another child.

 

OR

 

      If you are testing the single-judgement version, tell the child "There are two rows of blocks" as you point to each row.  Then say "Watch what I do."

 

 

8.   Take the row of blocks nearest the child and spread them out so they are spaced about two inches apart as follows:

 

                   X       X       X       X       X       X

 

                                       XXXXXX

 

9.    Then ask "Does this row have the same number of blocks as this row?".  Again, point to each row as you ask this question.  (Again, you may have to repeat or rephrase this question so the child understands what you are after.)

 

            (Warning:   Do not ask "Which one has more?"  That wording suggests to the child that one row does have more and you bias their answer in the direction of an incorrect response.)

 

        Record the child's answer.  If he answers merely "yes" or "no", ask for an explanation.  "How do you know?" or "Why?".  A Preoperational thinker should think the two rows are no longer equal in number because the length of the row has changed.  A Concrete Operational thinker should recognize the number has not changed, and give one of the following justifications:  "You did not add any or take any blocks away" (Negation).  "They are the same blocks" (Identity).  "See, all you have to do is push them together again" (Reversibility).  "One row is shorter, but it's because there is less space between the blocks" (Compensation).  Any of these reasons is acceptable Concrete Logic.

 

Scoring:

 

10.  On each part of the number conservation task give one point for a correct conservation answer.  A child who fails to conserve should get a score of 0 points.  Scores should range from 0 to 2 points.

 

 

 

 

 

Conservation of Mass

Part 1:

 

1.   Choose the can of play-doh.  Divide the doh into two equal balls of doh.  Put the balls of doh on the table before the child.  Explain to the child that you are going to do a few things with these balls of play-doh, and will ask him/her to answer a few questions about the doh.

 

2.   If you are testing conservation of mass in the Traditional way, tell the child "There are two balls" as you point to each one.  Then ask "Does this ball have the same amount of play-doh as this ball?" and again, point to each ball as you ask.  (You may have to repeat this question or rephrase it so that you are sure the child knows what you mean.)  The child should agree that the two balls are equal in amount of doh.  If the child says "no", you must ask why and see if you can correct the problem.  Perhaps you can have the child pinch some doh from one ball and move it to the other, or have him roll the doh himself to make them equal.  A child who continues to maintain that these two balls are not the same should be replaced with another child.

 

OR

 

      If you are testing the single-judgement version, tell the child "There are two balls" as you point to each one.  Then say "Watch what I do."

 

 

3.   Take one of the two balls and flatten it into a pancake.

 

4.   Then ask "Does this ball have the same amount of play-doh as this pancake?"  Again, point to each as you ask this question.  (Again, you may have to repeat or rephrase this question so the child understands what you are after.)

 

            (Warning:   Do not ask "Which one has more?"  That wording suggests to the child that one ball does have more and you bias their answer in the direction of an incorrect response.)

 

      Record the child's answer.  If he answers merely "yes" or "no", ask for an explanation.  "How do you know?" or "Why?".  A Preoperational thinker should think the two balls are no longer equal in amount because the shape of one ball has changed.  A Concrete Operational thinker should recognize the amount of play-doh has not changed, and give one of the following justifications:  "You did not add any or take any doh away" (Negation).  "It is the same doh" (Identity).  "See, all you have to do is make the pancake into a ball again" (Reversibility).  "The pancake is shorter than the ball, but it is also wider." (Compensation).  Any of these reasons is acceptable Concrete Logic.

 

 

Part 2:

 

5.   Repeat steps 1-2.  Make two equal balls of doh. If you are doing the task in the traditional version, have the child agree they are equal as in part 1 above.  If you are doing the single-judgement version, simply tell him to watch what you do.

 

6.   Take one of the two balls and roll it into a hot dog shape.

 

7.   Then ask "Does this ball have the same amount of play-doh as this hot dog?".  Again, point to each as you ask this question.  (Again, you may have to repeat or rephrase this question so the child understands what you are after.)

 

            (Warning:   Do not ask "Which one has more?"  That wording suggests to the child that one does have more and you bias their answer in the direction of an incorrect response.)

 

      Record the child's answer.  If he answers merely "yes" or "no", ask for an explanation.  "How do you know?" or "Why?".  A Preoperational thinker should think the two balls are no longer equal in amount because the shape of one ball has changed.  A Concrete Operational thinker should recognize the amount of play-doh has not changed, and give one of the following justifications:  "You did not add any or take any doh away" (Negation).  "It is the same doh" (Identity).  "See, all you have to do is make the hot dog into a ball again" (Reversibility).  "The hot dog is shorter than the ball, but it is also longer." (Compensation).  Any of these reasons is acceptable Concrete Logic.

 

Scoring:

 

8.    On each part of the conservation of mass task give one point for a correct conservation answer.  A child who fails to conserve should get a score of 0 points.  Scores should range from 0 to 2 points.

 

 

 

 

 

Conservation of Continuous Quantity

Part 1:

 

1.   Choose the two equal-sized clear plastic glasses.  Fill them with equal quantities of water.  Put the two filled glasses on the table before the child.  Explain to the child that you are going to do a few things with these glasses of water, and will ask him/her to answer a few questions about them.

 

2.   If you are testing conservation of continuous quantity in the Traditional way, tell the child "There are two glasses" as you point to each one.  Then ask "Does this glass have the same amount of water as this glass?" and again, point to each glass as you ask.  (You may have to repeat this question or rephrase it so that you are sure the child knows what you mean.)  The child should agree that the two glasses are equal in amount of water.  If the child says "no", you must ask why and see if you can correct the problem.  Perhaps you can have the child pour some water from one glass to the other, or have him add some water to make them equal.  A child who continues to maintain that the two glasses are not the same should be replaced with another child.

 

OR

 

      If you are testing the single-judgement version, tell the child "There are two glasses" as you point to each one.  Then say "Watch what I do."

 

 

3.   Take one of the two glasses and pour it into another, larger glass.

 

4.   Then ask "Does this glass have the same amount of water as this glass?".  Again, point to each glass as you ask this question.  (Again, you may have to repeat or rephrase this question so the child understands what you are after.)

 

            (Warning:   Do not ask "Which one has more?"  That wording suggests to the child that one glass does have more and you bias their answer in the direction of an incorrect response.)

 

      Record the child's answer.  If he answers merely "yes" or "no", ask for an explanation.  "How do you know?" or "Why?".  A Preoperational thinker should think the two glasses are no longer equal in amount of water because the size of one glass is different.  A Concrete Operational thinker should recognize the amount of water has not changed, and give one of the following justifications:  "You did not add any or take any water away" (Negation).  "It is the same water" (Identity).  "See, all you have to do is pour the water into this glass again" (Reversibility).  "The water level is taller in this glass than that glass, but this glass is not as wide as that one." (Compensation).  Any of these reasons is acceptable Concrete Logic.

 

 

 

Part 2:

 

 

5.   Repeat steps 1-2.  Pour two equal glasses of water.  If you are doing the task in the traditional version, have the child agree they are equal as in part 1 above. If you are doing the single-judgement version, simply tell him to watch what you do.

 

6.   Take one of the two glasses and pour it into the four or five small plastic vials.

 

7.   Then ask "Does this glass have the same amount of water as all of these little glasses?".  Again, point to the glass and to the group of vials as you ask this question.  (Again, you may have to repeat or rephrase this question so the child understands what you are after.)

 

            (Warning:   Do not ask "Which one has more?"  That wording suggests to the child that either the glass or the group of vials does have more and you bias their answer in the direction of an incorrect response.)

 

      Record the child's answer.  If he answers merely "yes" or "no", ask for an explanation.  "How do you know?" or "Why?".  A Preoperational thinker should think the glass and the group of vials are no longer equal in amount of water because the size and number of glasses has changed.  A Concrete Operational thinker should recognize the amount of water has not changed, and give one of the following justifications:  "You did not add any or take any water away" (Negation).  "It is the same water" (Identity).  "See, all you have to do is pour all the little glasses into this glass again" (Reversibility).  "Each little glass holds less water than the big glass, but there are more of them." (Compensation).  Any of these reasons is acceptable Concrete Logic.

 

Scoring:

 

8.    On each part of the conservation of continuous quantity task give one point for a correct conservation answer.  A child who fails to conserve should get a score of 0 points.  Scores should range from 0 to 2 points.

 

 

 

 

Conservation of Weight

Part 1:

 

1.   Choose the can of play-doh.  Divide the doh into two equal balls of doh.  Put the balls of doh on the table before the child.  Explain to the child that you are going to do a few things with these balls of play-doh, and will ask him/her to answer a few questions about the doh.

 

2.   If you are testing conservation of weight in the Traditional way, tell the child "There are two balls" as you point to each one.  Ask the child to pick them up.  Then ask "Does this ball of play-doh weigh as much as this ball?" and again, point to each ball as you ask.  (You may have to repeat this question or rephrase it so that you are sure the child knows what you mean.)  The child should agree that the two balls are equal in weight.  If the child says "no", you must ask why and see if you can correct the problem.  Perhaps you can have the child pinch some doh from one ball and move it to the other, or have him roll the doh himself to make them equal in weight.  A child who continues to maintain that these two balls are not the same should be replaced with another child.

 

OR

 

      If you are testing the single-judgement version, tell the child "There are two balls" as you point to each one.  Then say "Watch what I do."

 

 

3.   Take one of the two balls and flatten it into a pancake.

 

4.   Then ask "Does this ball of play-doh weigh as much as this pancake?".  Again, point to each as you ask this question.  (Again, you may have to repeat or rephrase this question so the child understands what you are after.)

 

            (Warning:   Do not ask "Which one has more?"  That wording suggests to the child that one does have more and you bias their answer in the direction of an incorrect response.)

 

      Record the child's answer.  If he answers merely "yes" or "no", ask for an explanation.  "How do you know?" or "Why?".  A Preoperational thinker should think the two balls are no longer equal in weight because the shape of one ball has changed.  A Concrete Operational thinker should recognize the weight of the play-doh has not changed, and give one of the following justifications:  "You did not add any or take any doh away" (Negation).  "It is the same doh" (Identity).  "See, all you have to do is make the pancake into a ball again" (Reversibility).  "The pancake is shorter than the ball, but it is also wider." (Compensation).  Any of these reasons is acceptable Concrete Logic.

 

 

 

Part 2:

 

 

5.   Repeat steps 1-2.  Make two equal balls of doh.  If you are doing the Traditional Version have the child agree they are equal as in part 1 above.  If you are doing the Single-Judgement Version, simply ask the child to watch what you do.

 

6.   Take one of the two balls and roll it into a hot dog shape.

 

7.   Then ask "Does this ball weigh the same as this hot dog?".  Again, point to each as you ask this question.  (Again, you may have to repeat or rephrase this question so the child understands what you are after.)

 

            (Warning:   Do not ask "Which one has more?"  That wording suggests to the child that one does have more and you bias their answer in the direction of an incorrect response.)

 

      Record the child's answer.  If he answers merely "yes" or "no", ask for an explanation.  "How do you know?" or "Why?".  A Preoperational thinker should think the two balls are no longer equal in weight because the shape of one ball has changed.  A Concrete Operational thinker should recognize the weight of the play-doh has not changed, and give one of the following justifications:  "You did not add any or take any doh away" (Negation).  "It is the same doh" (Identity).  "See, all you have to do is make the hot dog into a ball again" (Reversibility).  "The hot dog is shorter than the ball, but it is also longer." (Compensation).  Any of these reasons is acceptable Concrete Logic.

 

Scoring:

 

8.    On each part of the conservation of weight task give one point for a correct conservation answer.  A child who fails to conserve should get a score of 0 points.  Scores should range from 0 to 2 points.

 

 

 

 

Conservation of Area

Part1:

 

1.   Place two pieces of green construction paper on the table in front of the child.  Put a small plastic horse on each one.  Explain to the child that you want him to pretend that these are two fields of grass for the horses to eat.  You are going to do a few things with these pretend fields of grass, and will ask him/her to answer a few questions about them.

 

2.   If you are testing conservation of area in the Traditional way, tell the child "There are two fields of grass" as you point to each one.  Then ask "Does this horse have as much grass to eat as this horse?" and again, point to each field as you ask.  (You may have to repeat this question or rephrase it so that you are sure the child knows what you mean.)  The child should agree that the two horses have the same amount of grass to eat.  If the child says "no", you must ask why and see if you can correct the problem.  Perhaps the child may want to move the horses or re-orient the papers a bit.  A child who continues to maintain that these two fields are not the same size would not be unusual.  Area is the most difficult of these tasks.  If both of your test subjects fail to recognize the initial equality, give them 0's and stop here.

 

OR

 

      If you are testing the single-judgement version, tell the child "There are fields of grass" as you point to each one.  Then say "Watch what I do."

 

 

3.   Explain that the farmer has decided to build some barns.  Using the one-inch blocks, place five blocks on each "field".  Scatter the five blocks randomly on one field, but place them together on the other field with their sides touching, as follows:

 

            X    X                                       XXXXX

               X        X                               

            0          X                                 0

 

4.   Then ask "Does this horse have as much grass to eat as  as this horse?".  Again, point to each field as you ask this question.  (Again, you may have to repeat or rephrase this question so the child understands what you are after.)

 

            (Warning:   Do not ask "Which one has more?"  That wording suggests to the child that one field does have more and you bias their answer in the direction of an incorrect response.)

 

      Record the child's answer.  If he answers merely "yes" or "no", ask for an explanation.  "How do you know?" or "Why?".  A Preoperational thinker should think the two fields are no longer equal in amount because the barns are spaced differently on the two fields.  A Concrete Operational thinker should recognize the amount of grass has not changed so long as the number of barns is the same, and give one of the following justifications:  "You did not add any or take any grass away" (Negation).  "It is the same field" (Identity).  "See, all you have to do is build the barns on this field like they are on that one" (Reversibility).  "The barns are more spread out on this field, but they are the same size and number as the ones on this field." (Compensation).  Any of these reasons is acceptable Concrete Logic.

 

Scoring:

 

5.   Give one point for a correct conservation answer.  A child who fails to conserve should get a score of 0 points.  Scores should range from 0 to 1 point.

 

 

 

 

 

Data Analysis

 

      Once you have tested all four children enter your data from all four on a summary sheet.  In class we will pool our data.  We will then perform a t-test to see if there is a significant difference between the two experimental groups, those who took the Traditional Conservation of Number Tasks, and those who took the Single-Judgement Version of the same tasks.

 

 

Traditional Conservation Tasks

 

      Child's  Age  Gender     Number    Mass   Water   Weight   Area       Total Score

      Name                                

 

1.

 

2.

 

 

Single-Judgment Version Conservation Tasks

 

     Child's   Age   Gender       Number    Mass   Water    Weight   Area       Total Score

      Name                                          

 

3.

 

4,

 

 

 

 

 

Lab Write-up

 

This lab requires a partial APA paper.  It must have a title page, an abstract, a brief introduction, a results section that reports the pooled data, a discussion, references, a figure caption page, and a figure.

 


 

 

 

 

 



Math Balance Lab - Formal Thought

Child Psychology Lab 310L

 

Reference:

            Siegler, R.S. (1998).  Children's Thinking, Englewood Cliffs, NJ : Prentice-Hall.  (p.253-260.)

 

Purpose:

            The Math Balance Task was originally used by Piaget to demonstrate proportional reasoning in Formal Operational.Level adolescents.  Siegler (1978) found several stages of mastery of this task.  Preschoolers paid attention only to the number of weights that were placed on the balance and ignored information about their distance from the fulcrum.  Older children, about 7 or 8 years old would also pay more attention to the number of weights, but if the same number of weights were placed on both sides of the balance, they could then attend to the distance of the weights from the fulcrum, and balance the beam.  Children older than 8 years began to attend to both weight and distance at the same time, but their judgments were intuitive.  They had a sense that a lighter weight had to be further from the fulcrum to balance a heavier weight, but they could not place the weight on exactly the right peg without trial-and-error.  During early adolescence the notion of proportional relationships develops and the child may balance the beam without apparent trial-and-error, though not all adolescents are able to demonstrate such skill.  Siegler (1978) suggests that feedback is important to the development of proportional reasoning with the balance task.  The child benefits from knowing whether his response is right or wrong. 

            We will attempt to assess the importance of feedback in the balance task.  First we will pre-test subjects to see how well they understand proportional reasoning.  Then we will allow them to play with a math balance to see it in action and grasp the principles behind its use.  Then we will give the subjects a post-test to see if experience with the balance improves their ability to reason proportionally.

 

Design:

            We will use a Solomon's Four Group Design.  Two groups will receive a Pre-test.  One of these groups will be given experience with the math balance.  Then both of these groups will be given a Post-test.  Two more groups will act as controls.  Neither control group will get a Pre-test, but one control group will be allowed to work with the math balance.  Both control groups will take the Post-test.  Since all four groups take the Post-test, the Post-test scores will serve as our Dependent Variable.

            This results in a 2 X 2 Factorial, Between Groups Design, with two independent variables, i.e. Pre-test vs. No Pre-test and Math Balance Play vs. No Math Balance Play.

 

 

 

                                          Pre-test                                        No Pre-test

______________________________________________________

 

Balance

Play

______________________________________________________

 

No Balance

Play

______________________________________________________

 

 

Materials:

            A copy of the Written version of The Math Balance Test is provided.  This test will be administered as a paper-and-pencil task for both the Pre-test and Post-test.  The same questions will be presented orally to those subjects exposed to Math Balance Play, using the Oral version of The Math Balance Task.

            In addition, an Invicta Math Balance with 20 10-gram weights is provided.

 

 

 

The Balance Test

Written Version

 

            Each problem tells you what the weight is on one side of the fulcrum.  You are to decide what weight, or where the weight should be placed, on the other side of the fulcrum in order to balance the arm.

 

 

l.    A weight of 20g. is placed at peg #8.  To balance this weight a 40g. weight would have to be placed at  ________?

 

2.   A weight of 10g. is placed at peg #9.  It could be balanced by a _______ weight at peg #3?

 

3.   A weight of 40g. is placed at peg #2.  To balance this weight a 10g.weight would have to be placed at  ________?

 

4.   A weight of 30g. is placed at peg #2.  It could be balanced by a _______ weight at peg #3?

 

5.   A weight of 20g. is placed at peg#5.  To balance this weight a 10g.weight would have to be placed at  _______?

 

6.   A weight of 40g. is placed at peg#4.  It could be balanced by a _______ weight at peg #8?

 

7.   A weight of 40g. is placed at peg #3.  To balance this weight a 30g. weight would have to be placed at  _______?

 

8.   A weight of 10g. is placed at peg #6.  It could be balanced by a ______ weight at peg #2?

 

9.   A weight of 40g. is placed at peg #5.  To balance this weight a 20g.weight would have to be placed at  ______?

 

10.  A weight of 20g. is placed at peg #4.  It could be balanced by a _______ weight at peg #2?

 

11.  A weight of 10g. is placed at peg#4.  To balance this weight a 20g. weight would have to be placed at  _______?

 

12.  A weight of 40g. is placed on peg #1.  It could be balanced by a ______ weight at peg #4?

 

13.  A weight of 10g. is placed at peg#8.  To balance this weight a 40g. weight would have to be placed at  ______?

 

14.  A weight of 10g. is placed at peg # 8.  It could be balanced by a ______ weight at peg #4?

 

15.  A weight of 20g. is placed at peg #2.  To balance this weight a 40g. weight would have to be placed at  ______?

 

 

 


 

The Balance Test

Oral Version

 

Read the Following Instructions to the Subject:

 

            I will give you several problems to work out using this math balance.  With each problem I will put a weight on one side of the fulcrum.  Then I will either give you a weight and ask you to place it on the math balance so that the arm is balanced, or I will tell you which peg you must use and ask you to choose what weight is necessary to balance the arm.  You are to decide either where the weight, or what weight should be placed, on the other side of the fulcrum in order to balance the arm.

 

Present each of the following problems to the subject:  Allow him to make his guess on each problem.  If he makes an error let him move the weight from peg to peg, or change weights until he discovers the correct answer.  Then move on to the next problem.

 

 

l.    Place a weight of 20g. at peg #8.  Give the subject a 40g. weight.  Ask him to balance the arm.

 

2.   Place a weight of 10g. at peg #9.  Ask the subject to choose a weight that would balance the arm when placed at peg #3.

 

3.   Place a weight of 40g. at peg #2.  Give the subject a 10g. weight.  Ask him to balance the arm.

 

4.   Place a weight of 30g. at peg #2.  Ask the subject to choose a weight that would balance the arm when placed at peg #3.

 

5.   Place a weight of 20g. at peg#5.  Give the subject a 10g. weight.  Ask him to balance the arm.

 

6.   Place a weight of 40g. at peg#4.  Ask the subject to choose a weight that would balance the arm when placed at peg #8.

 

7.   Place weight of 40g. at peg #3.  Give the subject a 30g. weight.  Ask him to balance the arm.

 

8.   Place a weight of 10g. at peg #6.  Ask the subject to choose a weight that would balance the arm when placed at peg #2.

 

9.   Place a weight of 40g. at peg #5.  Give the subject a 20g. weight.  Ask him to balance the arm.

 

10.  Place a weight of 20g. at peg #4.  Ask the subject to choose a weight that would balance the arm when placed at peg #2.

 

11.  Place a weight of 10g. at peg#4.  Give the subject a 20g. weight.  Ask him to balance the arm.

 

12.  Place a weight of 40g. on peg #1.  Ask the subject to choose a weight that would balance the arm when placed at peg #4.

 

13.  Place a weight of 10g. at peg#8.  Give the subject a 40g. weight.  Ask him to balance the arm.

 

14.  Place a weight of 10g. at peg # 8.  Ask the subject to choose a weight that would balance the arm when placed at peg #4.

 

15.  Place a weight of 20g. at peg #2.  Give the subject a 40g. weight.  Ask him to balance the arm.

 

 

 

 

Subjects:

            For this study you will need to test 4 Junior High School Age students, ages 11-14, one subject for each of the 4 groups in the design.

 

 

Procedure:

 

GROUP 1:  Pre-test; Balance Play; Post-test.

 

1.   Administer the written form of The Balance Test as a Pre-test.  This is a paper-and-pencil test the subject can work on by himself.  He is asked to fill in the blanks.  When he has finished he is to turn the test in to you.  You must score it for him to give feedback.

 

2.   Bring out the Math Balance and set it on the table in front of the subject.  Tell him that paper-and-pencil tests are often harder to do than solving problems directly with the objects themselves.  You are going to give him the chance to work on some problems with the balance itself.  Then administer the Oral version of The Balance Test, letting the subject handle the weights and view the consequences of each response.  Allow the subject to correct each error, before you move on to the next problem, until all 15 problems have been solved.  Remove the Math Balance.

 

3.   Finally, give the subject a second copy of the written version of The Balance Test as a Post-test.  Again, he is to do it as a paper-and-pencil test, all by himself, handing it in to you when he is finished.

 

4.   You may score the Post-test for him at this point if he is curious about how well he did.  Otherwise thank him and say good-by.

 

 

Group 2:  Pre-test; Post-test.

 

1.   Administer the written form of The Balance Test as a Pre-test.  This is a paper-and-pencil test the subject can work on by himself.  He is asked to fill in the blanks.  When he has finished he is to turn the test in to you.  You are must score it for him to give feedback.

 

2.   Take a break of at least 30 minutes.  Since this group has no opportunity to play with the balance, they get to "do their own thing" for an equivalent period of time.

 

3.   Finally, give the subject a second copy of the written version of The Balance Test as a Post-test.  Again, he is to do it as a paper-and-pencil test, all by himself, handing it in to you when he is finished.

 

4.   You may score the Post-test for him at this point if he is curious about how well he did.  Otherwise thank him and say good-by.

 

 

Group 3:  Balance Play; Post-test.

 

1.   Subjects in this group get to skip the Pre-test and go right to direct contact with the Math Balance, so Bring out the Math Balance and set it on the table in front of the subject.  Tell him that you are going to give him the chance to work on some problems with the balance.  Then administer the Oral version of The Balance Test, letting the subject handle the weights and view the consequences of each response.  Allow the subject to correct each error, before you move on to the next  problem, until all 15 problems have been solved.  Remove the Math Balance.

 

2.   Finally, give the subject a copy of the written version of The Balance Test as a Post-test.  He is to do it as a paper-and-pencil test, all by himself, handing it in to you when he is finished.

 

3.   You may score the Post-test for him at this point if he is curious about how well he did.  Otherwise thank him and say good-by.

 

 

Group 4:  Post-test only.

 

1.   This group receives no Pre-test.  Nor does this subject get to play with the math balance.  Just give the subject a copy of the written version of The Balance Test as a Post-test.  He is to do it as a paper-and-pencil test, all by himself, handing it in to you when he is finished.

 

2.   You may score the Post-test for him at this point if he is curious about how well he did.  Otherwise thank him and say good-by.

 

 

Data Analysis

 

1.   You should have 4 Post-Test scores, two from subjects who took a Pre-test, and two from subjects who did not take a Pre-test.  Two subjects should have played with the Math Balance, while two did not.  In class we will combine our data to fill out the 4 cells of the design.

 

2.   Then we will do a two-way, Between Groups ANOVA to evaluate the main effects of each independent variable and the possible interaction between them.

 

3.   In addition you are to make a graph of the group means to illustrate our pooled results.

 

 

Lab Write-up

 

For this lab a full APA paper is required.  It must have a title page, abstract, introduction, method, results, discussion, references, a figure caption page, and a figure.