Susan F. Roy

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Alan D. Poling

Second Advisor

Dr. Norman Peterson

Third Advisor

Dr. Fred Gault

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Two groups of preschool children were studied in a discretetrial concept formation task involving identification of stimulus cards which shared a common feature (e.g., picture a color, or a facial expression). During training, one group (rule-given) was given a verbal description which delineated the aspect of the stimulus card that should control responding. The second (self-derived rule) group was exposed to the same cards, without a rule (verbal description) being given. Members of each group were reinforced for correct responses (i.e., identifying which of two pictures had the relevant stimulus property), and accuracy of description was recorded for each trial. After training with several different concepts, both groups were tested in a situation where no rule was given. It was found that students from the self-derived rule group performed better in this situation than those from the rule-governed group.

Included in

Psychology Commons