Combining of stimulus dimensions in children's and adults' judgments of area: An information integration analysis

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Conducted 2 experiments to study developmental changes in the integration of stimulus dimensions in an area judgment task. In Exp I, 24 kindergartners and 10 adults judged 9 rectangles in a 3 (width) × 3 (height) design. In Exp II, 10 each of 5-, 8-, 11-yr-olds, and adults judged 16 rectangles in a 4 × 4 design. Following functional measurement methodology, absolute judgments on a linear graphic rating scale were obtained. Data analyses showed that Ss at all ages based their area judgments on both width and height. The algebraic rule according to which these dimensions were combined, however, changed with age. Whereas the responses of the adults followed a multiplying integration model, the 5-yr-olds combined width and height additively. Between these age groups, there seems to be a gradual increase in the probability that a child will shift from an adding to a multiplying strategy. Implications for possible underlying processes are discussed. (19 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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