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Title: Transitivity and the representation of stimulus relations by young children
Author: Chalmers, M. A.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1978
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The thesis describes experiments carried out with children and squirrel monkeys designed to challenge the claim by Bryant and Trabasso (1971) that children as young as four can make genuine transitive inferences. Bryant and Trabasso demonstrated their claim using a five-term modification of classical transitivity tasks (e.g. A > B: B > C: A?C). Several experimental variations of the design of their five-term problem are reported, involving verbal and non-verbal conditions. The results of these experiments show that the transitive choice profile which obtains under specifiable conditions of training and test is attributable to psychological mechanisms which do not necessarily implicate deductive operations. Instead, the results are interpreted as support for James's (1891) distinction between "reasoning distinctively" and thought based on "associative sequence". Contrary to Bryant and Trabasso's claim, it is concluded that the solution of the five-term transitivity problem by young children is based on "empirical thinking" which in James's terms is "reproductive" rather than "productive".
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available