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Progress to Conservation: Conflict or Correct Answer?
Jan Bijstra, Sandy Jackson and Paul van Geert
European Journal of Psychology of Education
Vol. 6, No. 3 (SEPTEMBER 1991), pp. 291-301
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23422253
Page Count: 11
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One of the fundamental problems in socio-cognitive conflict theory concerns what it is that leads to cognitive growth. Is it conflict per se, i.e. the fact that two contradictory opinions are brought together, or is it the presence of the correct answer which is essential for growth. In this experiment, dyads, functioning on the same cognitive level, were formed and asked to solve a conservation-of-length task. The classification of the children in the pre-test was not done according to Piagetian norms, but according to Flavell's appearance-reality (AR) model: AR non-conservers (AR-NC), AR intermediates (AR-I) and AR conservers (AR-C). Many children who would have been scored as nonconservers in a standard Piagetian task, showed an underlying conservation competence and were classified as AR-I. The results of the interaction suggest that conflict does not lead to appropriate change in AR-NC dyads or AR-I dyads. Furthermore, the results suggest that the most effective method for AR-I to become conservers, is to make them think about a problem and then, to create consensus by confronting the children with others who have also reached the correct solution.
European Journal of Psychology of Education © 1991 Springer