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The Relative Difficulty for Children of the Successive and Simultaneous Discrimination Problems

Charles C. Spiker and Bonnie J. Lubker
Child Development
Vol. 36, No. 4 (Dec., 1965), pp. 1091-1101
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1126947
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1126947
Page Count: 11
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The Relative Difficulty for Children of the Successive and Simultaneous Discrimination Problems
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Abstract

The purposes of the experiment were to (a) determine whether children from 8 to 11 years of age can learn a successive (Su) discrimination problem when the stimulus and response loci are the same, (b) compare the relative difficulty of Su and simultaneous (Si) problems, (c) determine the effect of nonspatial stimulus similarity (brightness) on the relative difficulties of Su and Si problems, and (d) determine the effect of spatial stimulus similarity (distance between right and left stimuli) on the relative difficulties of these two tasks. The results indicated that children of these ages can learn the Su problem. Analyses of the number of trials to criterion and number of correct responses both indicated that the Su problem was significantly more difficult than the Si problem. The finding that an increase in the similarity of the brightnesses and positions did not affect problem difficulty was interpreted as the result of the simplicity of the Si problem and the extreme difficulty of the Su problem for Ss of these ages. It was suggested that a certain order of presentation of the stimulus settings, specifically designed to discourage position and alternation tendencies, may lessen the difficulty of the Su problem.

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