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Investigate whether or not there were differences between 3 year old and five-year-olds in conserving number.

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Introduction

Abstract The purpose of this study was to investigate whether or not there were differences between 3 year old and five-year-olds in conserving number. The hypothesis was two tailed because the direction of the result could not be predicted. This study was a between subjects design because the age range was manipulated. The independent variable was the age group and the dependent variable was measuring their conservation skills. The experimental hypothesis was that there would be a significant difference between three and five year olds in conserving number. The sample was that of opportunity. The results showed that there was no significant association between the age of the children and the ability to conserve number. The overall conclusion of this study was that children still do not have the ability to conserve number. Introduction Piaget viewed the child as a 'lone scientist' who sought to understand the world and build knowledge of the external world through direct interaction. Piaget believed that cognitive development depended upon two factors, namely internal maturation and external stimulation. He regarded intelligence as a process, something, which changes overtime. It also represents an important means whereby human beings adapt to their changing environment. This process basically involves the individual attempting to construct an understanding of reality. Taking these factors into account, Piaget devised a four-stage theory of development spanning from birth to adolescence. ...read more.

Middle

Design This study was a between subjects design because the age range was manipulated. The independent variable was the age group and the dependent variable was measuring their conservation skills. The experimental hypothesis was that there would be a significant difference between three and five year olds in conserving number. Procedure Firstly, the cubes were set approximately 1 inch apart (A), with another line of cubes set 3 inches apart (B). Then the child was called randomly from the list who were given parental consent. Next the child was shown the cubes and was asked if there were more, less or the same amount of cubes in the first or second line. The child's answer was recorded, then the experimenter moved B further apart until each cube was approximately 6 inches apart (C). The child was asked again if there were more, less or the same amount of cubes, the answer was recorded. Then the cubes were put back to their original places as the next child was called. This procedure was repeated fourteen times, once for each child. Results In reiteration, the independent variable was the age group and the dependent variable was measuring the child's conservation skills. Table 1 - To show the answers of both age groups in the two conditions. FURTHER EVEN FURTHER Same More Less Same More Less Total 3 yr olds 4 3 0 2 4 1 14 5 yr olds 5 2 0 4 ...read more.

Conclusion

However, further investigation maybe required, as some children may not be able to read or write. Another, vital observation was made, some children, especially the three year olds tended to treat the experiment as a game. After one answer, they wanted to start playing with the cubes. This problem could be overcome by making the whole process a bit more interesting for the child. Other factors, which were not directly visible, were that firstly, children may not understand what is being asked of them to do, therefore their answer may reflect self-desirability. Secondly, children especially the three-year-olds, do not always realise the difference between real and make believe. Thirdly, adults may find it difficult to relate to children as their emotions and ways of thinking contrast. Fourthly, children should be relaxed, they might feel threatened at the slightest of things. In addition, children need an incentive or motive to do something for someone and are very easily influenced. A cognitive explanation of this is that children have short attention spans therefore get bored easily and want to do something else. Having said this though, problems like these exist in every experiment regardless of whether the participants are children. The sign of a true experiment is one, which devises new techniques to overcome the difficulties. In conclusion, it can be said that the findings of these studies are in line with previous studies, specifically Piaget's. Therefore according to this study results children still do not have the ability to conserve number. 1 GROSS, R. (1999). Page 751. 1 1 ...read more.

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