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Development of Distance Conservation and the Spatial Coordinate System Reconsidered NICHD

Vandeventer, Mary
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), Cognitive Development, Conservation (Concept), Elementary School Students, Racial Differences, Spatial Ability


A further test of Piaget's hypothesis that distance conservation is prerequisite to the attainment of the coordinate concept was conducted with 10 Black and 10 White first-grade boys. Effects of stimulus material (drawings versus objects) and race differences were also investigated. Data failed to support the hypothesis of the developmental priority of distance conservation. Shantz and Smock's (1966) finding of order effects dependent upon stimulus type was not replicated, although a difference favoring objects was found for the coordinate but not for the distance tasks. A difference was found between races on distance but not on coordinate tasks. Differential language and abstraction ability was hypothesized to account for the difference.

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