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Why Won't You Change Your Mind? Knowledge of Operational Patterns Hinders Learning and Performance on Equations
Nicole M. McNeil and Martha W. Alibali
Vol. 76, No. 4 (Jul. - Aug., 2005), pp. 883-899
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3696735
Page Count: 17
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Children, Learning, Arithmetic, Child development, Child psychology, Mathematical problems, Mathematical knowledge, Mathematics, Cognitive psychology, Problem solving
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This study examined whether knowledge of arithmetic contributes to difficulties with equations. In Experiment 1, children (ages 7-11) completed tasks to assess their adherence to 3 operational patterns prevalent in arithmetic: (a) the strategy of performing all given operations on all given numbers, (b) the "operations = answer" problem structure, and (c) the concept that the equal sign means "the total." Next, children received a lesson on equations; then, they solved a set of equations. There was a negative relationship between adherence to the operational patterns and learning. In Experiment 2, undergraduates' knowledge of the operational patterns was activated or not. Students whose knowledge was activated did not perform as well on equations. Results suggest that early-learned patterns constrain future learning and performance.
Child Development © 2005 Society for Research in Child Development