Preschoolers learn to switch with causally related feedback.

Research paper by Bianca M C W BM van Bers, Ingmar I Visser, Maartje M Raijmakers

Indexed on: 04 Jun '14Published on: 04 Jun '14Published in: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology


Training cognitive flexibility in preschoolers is of great interest but is not easy to achieve. In three experiments, we studied the effects of feedback on preschoolers' switch behavior with a computerized version of the Dimensional Change Card Sorting (DCCS) task. The task was designed such that feedback was connected to the stimulus and causally related to children's behavior. Experiments 1 and 2 showed that children receiving feedback on their post-switch behavior performed better than children administered a standard (no feedback) DCCS task. This effect transferred to a subsequent standard DCCS task after 5 min and after 1 week. Experiment 3 showed that children switched to the new post-switch sorting rules and not to rules that oppose the pre-switch sorting rules. These results highlight preschoolers' sensitivity to the design of feedback in learning an abstract rule.