Some theoretical studies of intelligence : extensions and tests of aspects of Piaget's model : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University

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Massey University
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This study attempts to integrate two particular aspects of piaget's theory, seriation of weight behavior and the equilibration model, with the recently developed information processing approaches to psychology, derived from the development and proliferation of the computer. It is felt that computer based technologies will be more widely used in the future in psychology, to help solve a variety of common problems. A major contemporary problem that the computer may help to overcome, is that of trying to integrate the great mass of experimental data that has been collected over the years of psychological investigation. The paper has a number of major sections, a preliminary section discussing methodology, a section concerned with single subject performance on a weight seriation task, and a section concerned with Piaget's theoretical model, equilibration. A review is given of a range of modern approaches to psychology, including computer-based approaches and systems science. As well, the details of the methodologies of computer simulation, systems science, and single subject performance models are considered. The actual experimental work deals with the development of a production system based on a study by Baylor and Gascon (1974), which deals with the seriation of a number of weights. Computer programs were written, in PASCAL to facilitate portability, to simulate the weight seriation behavior of children in the age ranges or approximately 6 to 9 (Stages 1, 2 and 3). As well as validating the findings of Baylor and Gascon, a further approach to weight seriation problems was discovered for the Stage 1 child (this approach has been termed "Opposite placement of couples" to complement Baylor and Gascon's "Juxtaposition of opposites". These programs are presented in the paper, along with examples of the print out obtained, and a comparison between these and the children's protocols were made. Only children exhibiting Stage 1 and Stage 3 behavior were considered in detail, as it was felt that the Stage 2 behavior was too complex and required more extensive observation before actual modelling of the behavior should be attempted. Piaget's equilibration model is reviewed and discussed, with emphasis being placed on its relationship to cybernetics. As well, other mechanisms of the transition from one stage to another are considered, specifically the models of Klahr and Wallace (1976) and Pascual-Leone (1970). It was concluded that the models embedded in the programs give an accurate simulation of the various types of behavior observed through the age range discussed. Various extensions of the work are also considered, relating to the integration of other aspects of cognitive and motivational aspects into the model. It Is felt finally that it is important to extend work in the area of representation of the environment to enable the program to have something to manipulate. Piaget's work already has an information Processing flavour, through his development of the concept of operations, but there is hardly any work based on the processing of representations of the environment. This helps give a direction to future research.
Intellect, Cognition -- Data processing