The influence of number of A trials on 2-years-old’s behavior in Two A-Not-B-Type search tasks: A test of the hierarchical competing systems model

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Stuart Marcovitch, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Psychology (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Age-appropriate modifications of the A-not-B task were used to examine 2-year-olds’ search behavior. Several theories predict that A-not-B errors will in-crease as a function of number of A trials. However, the hierarchical competing systems model (Marcovitch & Zelazo, 1999) predicts that although the ratio of perseverative to nonperseverative errors will increase, the likelihood of perseveration will be an inverted U-shaped function. In Experiment 1, children received 1, 6, or 11 A trials in a multistep multilocation search task. In Experiment 2, children received 3, 7, 11, or 15 A trials in a sandbox task. Results from Experiment 1 showed that the ratio of perseverative to nonperseverative errors increased with number of A trials, and results from both Experiments 1 and 2 indicated that the likelihood of perseverative errors was highest following a moderate number of A trials. These findings are consistent with the suggestion that search behavior provides an index of the development of conscious control.

Additional Information

Journal of Cognition and Development, 7, 477-501
Language: English
Date: 2006
search behavior, hierarchical competing systems model, perseveration, child development

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