A Tale of Two Flexibilities

A Tale of Two Flexibilities
Development of and
Effects of Labels on
Consecutive and
Concurrent Cognitive
Flexibility
Gal Podjarny
Carleton University
Agenda
!  What is cognitive flexibility?
!  Cognitive flexibility in preschoolers
!  Consecutive and concurrent cognitive flexibility
!  Inductive and deductive tasks (labels)
!  Study 1: development of two flexibilities
!  Study 2: examining effects of labels
!  Bonus: what kids say
!  Summary and Open Questions
2
Cognitive
Flexibility
The ability to think
about something in
more than one
way
3
Why Study Cognitive Flexibility?
! Nonverbal intelligence (Siegler & Svetina, 2002)
! Academic achievements (Blair & Razza, 2007)
! Creativity (Diamond, 2006)
! Perspective taking (Perner et al., 2002)
4
Why Study Preschoolers?
! Preschoolers: 3-5 years old (before 1st grade)
! Significant developments during preschool
years (e.g., Cragg & Chevalier, 2012; Garon et
al., 2008).
5
The Classic Task: DCCS
!
Target Cards
!
!
Post-Switch:
Pre-Switch: Colour
Shape
!
6
Aspects of Cognitive Flexibility
7
Two Factors
! Type of cognitive flexibility
! Consecutive
! Concurrent
! Type of Task
! Inductive
! Deductive
8
Cognitive Flexibility Type
! Consecutive cognitive flexibility
! Considering several dimensions one at a time
! Also termed switching or set-shifting
! Concurrent cognitive flexibility
! Considering several dimensions simultaneously
(based on Perner et al., 2002)
! Very little research with preschoolers
9
Type of Task: Inductive vs. Deductive
!  Jacques and Zelazo (2005)
!  Deductive tasks: all information is given
!  Inductive tasks: an inference step is required
!  Essential difference: dimensions identified
!  General Findings: deductive tasks easier than inductive tasks.
!  BUT almost only consecutive tasks.
10
Some Examples
11
Modified
Object
Classification
Task for
Children
(M-OCTC)
Based on Smidts et
al. (2004)
12
Multidimensional Card
Selection (MCS)
!!!!
!!!!
!!!!
!!!!
!!!!
!!!!
!!!!
13
Summary: What Do We Know?
! Research with preschoolers focused on
consecutive cognitive flexibility
! Concurrent cognitive flexibility assumed to
develop later
! Deductive tasks are easier than inductive tasks:
labels help children succeed on cognitive
flexibility tasks (Doebel & Zelazo, 2013).
14
Study 1
15
Study 1: Questions
! Are consecutive and concurrent cognitive
flexibility distinct skills? How do they relate?
! What develops first?
! What is the relation to type of task (inductive/
deductive)?
16
Methods
! Participants: 121 preschoolers.
! 3-Year-Olds (N = 59)
! 37-47 months (M = 43.5, SD = 2.4)
! 34 girls
! 4-Year-Olds (N = 62)
! 47-59 months (M = 52.4, SD = 3.4)
! 30 girls
17
Cognitive Flexibility Tasks
Consecutive
Inductive
M-OCTC,
M-FIST
Deductive
DCCS
Concurrent
Matrix sort
Matrix completion,
MCS
Participant’s Score: Number of tasks performed above chance.
18
What We Found
19
Cognitive Flexibility Type Comparison
By Age
3
*
2.5
*
2
Average
Number of
1.5
Tasks
Passed
1
3-Year-Olds
4-Year-Olds
0.5
0
Consecutive
Cognitive Flexibility
Concurrent
Cognitive Flexibility
20
Task Type Comparison By Age
3
2.5
2
*
Average
Number of
1.5
Tasks
Passed
*
3-Year-Olds
4-Year-Olds
1
0.5
0
Deductive Tasks
Inductive Tasks
21
Task Type By Cognitive Flexibility Type
Interaction
1
0.9
0.8
0.7
0.6
Proportion of
0.5
Tasks Passed
0.4
3-Year-Olds
4-Year-Olds
0.3
0.2
0.1
0
Consecutive Consecutive Concurrent Concurrent
Inductive
Deductive
Inductive
Deductive
22
What does it mean?
! Concurrent cognitive flexibility ≠ consecutive
cognitive flexibility in preschoolers.
! Interesting area
! Three-Year-Olds did well on consecutive cognitive
flexibility
! Interaction between type of cognitive
flexibility and type of task
! But…
! Different inductive and deductive tasks
! 3-year-olds not very good at concurrent cognitive
flexibility
23
Study 2
Effects of Labels
24
Type of Task: The Effects of Labels
! Generally, labels help children on cognitive flexibility
tasks.
! Inhibitory control explanation: Labels help direct
attention to the relevant dimension (Kirkham et al., 2003).
! Representational change explanation: Labels help
reflect on the hierarchical structure of the
embedded rules (Zelazo et al., 2003).
! Both theories apply to consecutive cognitive
flexibility, but what about concurrent cognitive
flexibility?
25
Study 2 – Purpose and Method
! Examine effects of labels on concurrent
cognitive flexibility performance.
! Experimental manipulation of labels
! Two concurrent cognitive flexibility tasks:
! Preschool Matrix Completion Task
! Matrix Sort Task
! Order counterbalanced.
26
Preschool Matrix Completion Task: Labeled
27
Matrix Completion Task: Unlabeled
28
Matrix Sort Task: Labeled
29
Matrix Sort Task: Unlabeled
30
Participants
! 4-year-olds (N = 84)
! 48-59 months old (M = 53.5; SE = .37)
! 42 girls
! 43 (17 girls) received labeled condition
! 5-year-olds (N = 76)
! 60-71 months old (M = 65.3; SE = .35)
! 45 girls
! 41 (24 girls) received labeled condition
31
What We Found
32
Results – Matrix Sort
100
90
80
Percentage of
70
children
performing 60
above chance
4-Year-Olds
50
5-Year-Olds
40
30
20
10
0
No Labels
Labels
33
4-Year-Olds' performance on Matrix
Completion
6
5
4
Number of
3
Correct Trials
Matrix Completion First
Matrix Sort First
2
1
0
No Labels
Labels
34
5-Year-Olds' performance on Matrix
Completion
6
5
4
Number of
3
Correct Trials
Matrix Completion First
Matrix Sort First
2
1
0
No Labels
Labels
35
What does it mean?
! Labels interfered with 5-year-olds’
performance on the Preschool Matrix
Completion Task, unless they saw the Matrix
Sort Task first.
! Matrix Sort Task performance was
unaffected.
! Segmentation?
! Complexity difference
36
Bonus Condition
! Do children focus on one dimension?
! Another 36 preschoolers (12 5YOs and 24 4YOs)
! Preschool Matrix Completion Task first
! Labeled condition
! Examining children’s labels
37
Preschool Matrix Completion Task
38
What We Found
39
Children's Labels By Age
6
5
4
Bi-dimensional (correct)
Label
Average
Number of 3
Labels
Uni-dimensional Label,
Column Dimension
Uni-dimensional Label,
Row Dimension
2
1
0
4-Year-Olds
5-Year-Olds
40
Performance on Preschool Matrix
Completion Task By Age
6
5
4
Number of Trials
3
Correct
4-Year-Olds
5-Year-Olds
2
1
0
Regular Labeled
Labeled with Delay
41
Findings Summary
! Labels seem to hinder children’s
performance on concurrent cognitive
flexibility tasks
! Labels seem to direct child’s attention to
one dimension (consistent with inhibitory
control theory)
! When we get 5-year-olds to produce a
verbal label themselves, they do better
(consistent with representational change
theory).
42
Open Questions
! Is concurrent cognitive flexibility an extension
of consecutive cognitive flexibility?
! What is the role of other cognitive skills?
! How does this map onto later developmental
outcomes?
! How can we help children figure this out?
43
Thanks to…
! Hundreds of children, parents, daycare
coordinators, principals, and teachers who
generously participated in the studies
! Dr. Deepthi Kamawar
! My lab-mates
! Katherine Andrews
! Corrie Vendetti
! Andrea Astle
44
Thank You!
Questions?
45
References
Blair, C., & Razza, R. P. (2007). Relating effortful control, executive function, and false belief
understanding to emerging math and literacy ability in kindergarten. Child Development,
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Cragg, L., & Chevalier, N. (2012). The processes underlying flexibility in childhood. Quarterly
Journal of Experimental Psychology (2006), 65(2), 209-32. doi:10.1080/17470210903204618
Diamond, A. (2006). The early development of executive functions. In E. Bialystok & F. Craik (Eds.),
Lifespan cognition: Mechanisms of change (pp. 70-95). Oxford, England: University Press.
Doebel, S., & Zelazo, P. D. (2013). Bottom-up and top-down dynamics in young children’s
executive function: Labels aid 3-year-olds’ performance on the dimensional change card
sort. Cognitive Development, 28, 222-232. doi:10.1016/j.cogdev.2012.12.001
Garon, N., Bryson, S., & Smith, I. (2008). Executive function in preschoolers: A review using an
integrative framework. Psychological Bulletin, 134(1), 31-60. doi:
10.1037/0033-2909.134.1.31
Jacques, S., & Zelazo, P. (2005). On the possible roots of cognitive flexibility. In B. Homer & C.
Tamis-LeMonda (Eds.), The development of social cognition and communication (pp.
53-81). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Kirkham, N. Z., Cruess, L., & Diamond, A. (2003). Helping children apply their knowledge to their
behavior on a dimension-switching task. Developmental Science, 6(5), 449-467. doi:
10.1111/1467-7687.00300
Perner, J., Stummer, S., Sprung, M., & Doherty, M. (2002). Theory of mind finds its piagetian
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10.1111/1467-8624.00439
Zelazo, P. D., Müller, U., Frye, D., & Marcovitch, S. (2003). The development of executive function
in early childhood. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 68(3),
1-151. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5834.2003.06803002.x
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