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Study To Investigate The Order Of Conservation Tasks In Young Children Piaget

3027 words - 13 pages

Introduction:Piaget believed that there were four main stages in which children pass during cognitive development. The sensorimotor stage lasts for the first two years of a child's life, and learning primarily occurs through their senses. The child will also develop object permanence. The pre-operational stage is where a child's thinking becomes more dominated by observation and perception. In this stage, a child develops the ability to decentre, and conservation will follow this development. The concrete operational stage is where children develop full ability to conserve. In the formal operational stage, the child can think hypothetically, and decentration continues through this stage, ...view middle of the document...

This dispelled any demand characteristics in the child. This study challenges Piaget's view that children cannot properly conserve until the average age of 12. Since Piaget asked two questions, it was assumed that a different answer would be required, so a different answer was given, regardless of whether the child could conserve or not. The presence of demand characteristics can be used to explain why Piaget developed different results from other developmental psychologists.Horizontal décalage is "the step by step acquisition of new operations in conservation", and means the change in the level of the child's performance at conserving mass, liquid, length and quantity. This states that some conservation of materials is mastered before others, and that the order is: Liquid (ages 6-7), quantity and length (ages 7-8), weight (ages 8-10) and volume (ages 11-12).Rationale:From these experiments, it can be interpreted that conditions and the experimenter can affect the child's competence at conservation tasks, in particular mass and volume. I will be emulating the Samuel and Bryant (1984) experiment, in order to find out which level of conservation is reached first. Therefore to investigate whether mass or water is conserved first within the age range 4.6-6.6, I will replicate the conditions from Samuel and Bryant's experiment, in that I will only ask one question. I predict that more 5.6-6.6 year olds will be able to conserve both liquid and/or mass than 4.6-5.6 year olds.Aim:To investigate whether children within the ages of 4.6-6.6 (4 years and 6 months - 6 years and 6 months) can conserve water and mass, and discover which level of conservation comes firstExperimental Hypothesis 1:Significantly more 5.6-6.6 year olds will be able to conserve both liquid and/or mass, than 4.6-5.6 year olds.Experimental Hypothesis 2:More 4.6-6.6 year old children will be able to conserve liquid than mass.Null Hypothesis:There will be no significant difference in the ages of the children that can conserve both liquid and mass, any differences will be due to chance.There will also be no significant differences in which material can be conserved first due to age. Any differences will be due to chance.ProceduresDesign:A repeated measures design was chosen as the participant variables are controlled and the experiment becomes more valid.To minimise order effects I will counterbalance, by alternating the order of questioning.A field experiment was chosen, enabling children to work in a natural setting. This is less distressing for the children as they are in a familiar environment.Variables:Dependent Variable: Whether the participants have the ability to conserve mass and liquid, and which type of conservation comes first (at an earlier age). This will be operationalised by using two questions;1.When I ask the question "Is the water in this glass the same amount as the water in this glass?", the children will reply affirmatively.2.When I ask the question "Is this...

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