Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


The present study explored the development of schematic concept formation (SCF) in children and adults. Ss were 164 children enrolled in grades 1-4 and 30 adults enrolled in college psychology courses. The task using two classes of complex visual patterns required identifying a pair of 8-sided polygons as belonging, or not belonging, to the same schema family. The concerns of the present study were: (1) to examine the relationship between age and accuracy of discrimination, (2) to explore some of the relationships of several organismic variables of Ss to SCF performance, (3) to examine a S's performance on same-class trials as compared with performance on different-class trials, and (4) to investigate whether learning, defined as an increase in accuracy on SCF tasks, occurred. Results indicated all age levels scored significantly above chance on same different SCF tasks. Accuracy peaked at Grade 3 in males and Grade 4 in females with a non-significant decline in adults, although Grade 4 males were significantly more accurate than adult males on different class trials. Cumulatively the six organismic variables studied accounted for 23% of the variance in SCF performance with class standing in arithmetic and IQ being the two most important variables. A comparison of a learning disability (LD) group with a non-LD group indicated no significant difference in SCF performance. Comparison of trial types indicated Ss were more accurate on different-class trials than same-class trials. This may partially be explained by a S’s response bias for different-class answers. Finally, results indicated that while Ss showed no significant increase in SCF performance across Blocks on same-class trials there were a significant increase on different-class trials. Conclusions of the present study indicated that the phenomenon of SCF does occur and may be valuable in construction of perceptual learning theories. Perhaps one of the most promising aspects of SCF may be its suitability for development into a non-verbal and perhaps culture-independent test of certain cognitive aptitudes.


Robert Markley

Date of Award

Fall 1974

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1974 Gerald Robinson


For questions contact

Off Campus FHSU Users Click Here