The influence of number of A trials on 2-year-olds' behavior in two A-not-B type search tasks: A test of the hierarchical competing systems model

Stuart Marcovitch, Philip David Zelazo

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21 Scopus citations

Abstract

Age-appropriate modifications of the A-not-B task were used to examine 2-year-olds' search behavior. Several theories predict that A-not-B errors will increase as a function of number of A trials. However, the hierarchical competing systems model (Marcovitch & Zelazo, 1999) predicts that although the ratio of perseverative to nonperseverative errors will increase, the likelihood of perseveration will be an inverted U-shaped function. In Experiment 1, children received 1, 6, or 11 A trials in a multistep multilocation search task. In Experiment 2, children received 3, 7, 11, or 15 A trials in a sandbox task. Results from Experiment I showed that the ratio of perseverative to nonperseverative errors increased with number of A trials, and results from both Experiments 1 and 2 indicated that the likelihood of perseverative errors was highest following a moderate number of A trials. These findings are consistent with the suggestion that search behavior provides an index of the development of conscious control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)477-501
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Cognition and Development
Volume7
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 6 2006
Externally publishedYes

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