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2002, iss. 1, pp. 157-166
Experimental investigation of the process of discrimination in normal and mental retarded children
University of Belgrade, Faculty of Defectology
Keywords: discrimination learning; developmental hypothesis of discrimination learning; reversal shift learning; non-reversal shift learning; transfer of learning
The aim of the experiment is to explore predictions of discrimination learning developmental hypothesis (Kendler T. S., Kendler H. H). The hypothesis claims that older children (above 6 years), just like grown ups analyze dimensions of stimuli, so that learning about dimensions proceeds learning of instrumental response of choice, while younger children respond to stimuli as to undifferentiated wholes. They respond as it would predict theory of single S-R unit. The hypothesis can be explored in two ways. First, one can make comparison of types of transfer from learning one problem of discrimination to learning of problem in which positive (rewarded) and negative (unwearied) stimuli are changing values (reversal shift) and to learning of problem in which the relevant (rewarded) dimension of stimuli is changed (non-reversal shift). It is predicted that for older children it is easier to learn problems with reversal shift, while for younger children it is easier to learn problems with non-reversal shift. Second way of exploring is to compare the influence of the type of pretraining on learning of the first problem of discrimination and on transfer to the new problems of discrimination. It is predicted that pretraining in arranging stimuli of relevant dimension makes easier learning of the first discrimination problem and learning of the reversal shift problem, but makes more difficult learning of the non-reversal shift problem. It is also predicted that this type of pretraining has greater influence in younger children learning, because it is postulated that older children have already developed the ability to analyze stimuli into dimensions. We have similar hypothesis for mentally retarded children of different MA levels. Developmental hypothesis is mainly confirmed for two groups of mentally retarded children but not for both groups of normal children.
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article language: Serbian
document type: unclassified
published in SCIndeks: 02/06/2007

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