The analysis of the connections of childhood mental image operations and conservation in combinational tasks
The study deals with the development features of mental and motor manipulation in connection with a combinational task solution with children. In the two experimental groups we have selected 8- and 10-year-old children (their average age was 8 years 8 months and 9 years), on the basis of their performance shown in Piaget-type conservational tasks in such a way that in one of the groups those children were selected, who are characterized by standard non-conservation, while the members of the other group have shown a standard-conservation level of performance. Within the tasks to be solved we also changed the complexity degree of the combinable parts. In this way we were able to analyze the complexity effect on the one hand, on the other hand we could follow the connections between logical-mathematical operations and the specific mental images necessary for task solution, the existence of which is supposed through the phenomenon of conservation. In case of both groups we could observe that the increase of the complexity of combined elements results in faster solution as a result of the fact that because of complexity the number of good combinational possibilities decreases. This result does not fit into the complexity effect shown in the mental rotation of the isolated, uniform pictures because in most of these experiments the complexity of the pictures extends the time of solution. The other observation refers to the fact that we can experience an essential difference between the performances of the two groups only in the identification operations of the simplest static pictures, but not in the process of transformation and comparison. This is why we may suppose that the development of logical and mental image operations follows different lines as the logical ability of conservation does not forecast in the least the success of the mental and motor manipulation revealed in the combinational task.
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