Date of Graduation
The purpose of this study was to examine the categorization behaviors of a group of children at age four, seven, and ten years. The study was designed to conduct basic research in the area of concept formation, and was exploratory in the sense that it sought to define specific levels and strategies of categorization. The main effects of sex, socioeconomic status, age, and response type were investigated. Research findings were sought to support a modification of current cognitive theory in the areas of concept formation and categorical structuring. Related purposes dealt with the examination of preferred classification strategies within specific age groups and developmental trends across ages. Ninety-six subjects from ten schools were selected on the basis of age, sex, socioeconomic status, and general achievement criteria. Subjects were enrolled in the Head Start Program, a private preschool, or in public schools in Monogalia County, West Virginia. Subjects received presentations of twenty basic level stimulus categories or one of two groups of forty sentences, ordered randomly. Twenty basic level stimulus categories were given under isolated free association conditions. Four sentences were constructed for each of ten basic level noun categories in the two remaining tasks. Therefore, each subject received twenty basic level nouns in one of three orders on a task involving the basis of categorical structuring; forty sentences in one of three orders in task one; and forty sentences in one of three orders in task two. Subject's responses by type were summed for the purposes of data analysis. Results of the study, measured by response latencies or response types indicated that strong age-related patterns existed within and across age groups. Unexpected orders of response preference were obtained. No clear pattern of preferred categorization strategies was found for the total sample; however, a preference for the functional response type was strongly demonstrated by the four year olds. Based on findings, certain modifications of current cognitive theory were recommended. Limitations inherent in the experimental design, method, and materials may have precluded measuring these processes as accurately as desired. Therefore, several changes and recommendations for future research were proposed.
GOOSENS, TONDA KAY, "THE INFLUENCE OF SEX, SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS AND AGE ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHILDREN'S CATEGORICAL RELATIONSHIPS." (1981). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 8934.