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The Potency of Context in Children's Cognition: An Illustration Through Conservation

Susan A. Rose and Marion Blank
Child Development
Vol. 45, No. 2 (Jun., 1974), pp. 499-502
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1127977
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1127977
Page Count: 4
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The Potency of Context in Children's Cognition: An Illustration Through Conservation
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Abstract

The present research is concerned with the importance of subtle contextual factors in affecting the young child's performance on cognitive problems. To illustrate this phenomenon, the conservation task was altered to include a 1-judgment version in which the child had to comment on the stimuli only after their rearrangement. This condition was devised because it was hypothesized that the request for 2 judgments-1 before and 1 after the rearrangement-is taken by the child as a cue that he should alter his first judgment so as to acknowledge the change he has just witnessed. The results indicated that first-grade children made fewer errors not only on the 1-judgment task itself, but also on a subsequent standard conservation task given 1 week later. The results were interpreted as supporting the hypothesis that contextual cues which may be deemed insignificant by the adult may have a strong influence on the child's cognitive performance.

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