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The Role of Negation in Conservation Acquisition: Evidence From Justification and Clinical-Type Probing

Young, Gerald
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
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Subject/Key Words:
Province of Ontario Graduate Scholarship, Canada, Cognitive Growth, Concept Formation, Developmental Psychology, Elementary School Students, Males


Grades 1 and 2 boys (N=70) were preselected for verbal ability and given conservation and negation measures. Of 59 subjects who gave at least one logical justification on the conservation tasks, only 5 subjects used negation justifications, where the probing consisted of one question. Negation users were matched with negation nonusers and retested using clinical-type probing. The negation users needed significantly fewer questions per task to elicit negation justifications than negation nonusers (p < .05) and each was operational on the negation measure. Negation seems to be more relevant for conservation acquisition in the negation users than in the majority of children in the study. (28pp.)

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