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Cognitive Strategies in the Discrimination Learning of Young Children

  • Charles C. Spiker
  • Joan H. Cantor

Abstract

Research on children’s discrimination learning during the past 10 to 15 years has brought about some major changes in our theoretical conceptualizations about the way children solve such tasks. The role of mediating processes in children’s learning has been prominent in theoretical viewpoints since the early work of Kuenne (1946). Research during the 1950s on the hypothesis of acquired distinctiveness of cues (see Cantor, 1965; Spiker, 1956, 1963, for reviews) represented an attempt to identify and describe the mediating mechanisms. The Kendler and Kendler (1962) theory of representational mediation was a recognition that the discrimination learning and concept identification of older children, at least, was strongly influenced by the development of dimension-specific mediating processes. The attentional theory of Zeaman and House (1963) also placed between the complex physical stimulus and the overt instrumental response an observing response on the part of the subject, whether infrahuman, human adult, or child, that determined which of the existing stimulus dimensions would become effective. Dimension-specific responding was also a feature of a modification of Spence’s (1936) theory of discrimination learning that the present writers began to develop about 10 years ago (Spiker, 1970, 1971; Spiker & Cantor, 1973).

Keywords

Cognitive Strategy Discrimination Learning Discrimination Performance Irrelevant Dimension Criterion Task 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles C. Spiker
    • 1
  • Joan H. Cantor
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA

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