The development of children's ability to balance objects on a fulcrum: Examiningxs karmiloff-smith's model of cognitive development

David Messer, Richard Joiner, Paul Light, Karen Littleton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

An influential framework for considering the general process of cognitive development has been proposed by Karmiloff-Smith (1992). The model has important implications for education as it identifies a developmental process which involves representations becoming more accessible and more general in nature. One of the domains Karmiloff-Smith considers is children's performance on balance tasks. Our study investigates predictions derived from this framework by conducting two cross-sectional studies on a total of 260 children and by investigating, in the second of these studies, whether children perform in a consistent way on a physical balancing task, a paper and pencil task, and a computer task. The findings broadly support Karmiloff-Smith's model, but also indicate that behaviour on the balancing tasks is more variable than that identified by her. Our identification of additional levels of behaviour may be useful in developing an understanding of the mechanism of cognitive process. The second study revealed that, as expected, the absence of certain forms of information influenced performance. However, contrary to expectations, the more abstract nature of both paper and pencil and computer tasks did not disrupt behaviour to any large extent, and there were indications that performance on these tasks was more advanced than with physical beams. Such findings are surprising and point to benefits of attempting to assist development by presenting children with different forms of the same task.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-96
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Phytoremediation
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Plant Science

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