- This thesis investigated children's intrinsic motivation for solving problems., The first part of the study examined children's intrinsic motivation for solving a problem which involved cognitive conflict. Motivation, or task persistence, was investigated as a function of the relationship between the children's Piagetian cognitive stage and the level of task complexity. Children's performances on a conservation task battery were used to assess their cognitive stages: The participants were from the transitional and the preoperational stages. It was expected that transitional children would show longer persistence times on the conflict task than preoperational children. The results showed that transitional and preoperational children did not differ in intrinsic motivation on the conflict task. Some procedural problems regarding children's performance on the conflict task raised some questions about the validity of the persistence measure. Therefore, it was suggested that, in future research, children be assigned to cognitive levels on the basis of their initial understanding of cognitive conflict. It also was suggested that children may show higher levels of motivation if they are given feedback in solving the conflict task and repeated opportunities to solve it., and The second part of the study examined the relationship between children's intrinsic motivation for solving problems and their attributions for task outcome at two cognitive-developmental stages. It was expected that relationships between motivation, or task persistence, and attributions would be found at the transitional, but not at the preoperational stage because children develop the ability to form causal relationships between attributional concepts at the transitional stage. Expectations were only partially confirmed. Results indicate that young children who differ in task motivation do attribute failure to different causes. It was suggested that relationships between children's task persistence and attributions for task outcome might be investigated more appropriately in relation to developmental change in children's understanding of attributional concepts, such as ability and effort, rather than in terms of Piagetian concepts.
- Dissertation Note:
- Ph.D. The Pennsylvania State University 1983.
- Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 44-01, Section: B, page: 2910.
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