Transfer of Perceptually Grounded Principles

Principal Investigator: 
Project Overview
Background & Purpose: 

We propose to investigate the role of comparison in the development of grounded but “abstracted” models, with an emphasis on examining the role of commonalities and differences in the structure and content of the compared examples. At the same time, we will be exploring ways of providing spatially-grounded models more directly, via student interaction with computerized simulations of simplified physical systems.

Setting: 

This project studies middle school science students in Bloomington, Indiana.

Research Design: 

This project is comparative and is designed to generate evidence that is causal [experimental]. Original data are collected through assessments of learning [achievement tests]. Instruments or measures include complex systems inventory, problem solving speed, short answer test quality, and multiple choice tests.

We use repeated measures ANOVAs with covariates to assess main effects and interactions due to factors including: graphical quality of simulation, congruence of simulation, prior student achievement, natural mapping of simulation, availability of comparisons, and distance between simulations on superficial and deep aspects. Our treatments tend to be randomized by student within a classroom. Students in the intervention group receive congruent simulations, concrete depictions, comparisons, and graphical support. Students in the comparison group receive incongruent simulations, idealized depictions, no comparisons, and no graphical depictions.

Findings: 

For both structural and surface content, we found that post-test improvement was greatest when the compared cases were less similar to one another. Furthermore, these effects interacted strongly with characteristics of the learner. Specifically, students who had tested into an accelerated (advanced placement) science course were reliably influenced by the structural similarity between the cases, but not at all by their surface similarity. In contrast, students in regular science classes were influenced by surface—but not structural—similarity.

Publications & Presentations: 

Landy, D. H., & Goldstone, R. L. (in press). Proximity and precedence in arithmetic. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

Day, S., & Goldstone, R. L. (2010). The Effects of Similarity and Individual differences on Comparison and Transfer. Proceedings of the Thirty-Second Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. 465-470). Portland, Oregon: Cognitive Science Society.

Goldstone, R. L., & Landy, D. H. (2010). Domain-creating constraints. Cognitive Science.

Goldstone, R. L. (2010). Foreward. In I. Gauthier, M. J. Tarr, & D. Bubb (Eds.) Perceptual expertise: Bridging brain and behavior. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. (pp. v - x).

Goldstone, R. L., Day, S., & Son, J. Y. (2010). Comparison. In B. Glatzeder, V. Goel, & A. von Müller (Eds.) On thinking: Volume II, towards a theory of thinking. Heidelberg, Germany: Springer Verlag GmbH. (pp. 103-122).

Goldstone, R. L., & Hendrickson, A. T. (2010). Categorical Perception. Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 1, 65-78.

Goldstone, R. L., Landy, D. H., & Son, J. Y. (2010). The education of perception. Topics in Cognitive Science, 2, 265-284.

Hendrickson, A. T., Kachergis, G., Gureckis, T. M., & Goldstone, R. L. (2010). The effect of verbal interference and the internal structure of categories on perceptual discrimination. Proceedings of the Thirty-Second Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. 1216-1221). Portland, Oregon: Cognitive Science Society.

Barab, S., Scott, B., Siyahhan, S. Goldstone, R. L., Ingram-Goble, A., Zuiker, S., & Warren, S. (2009). Transformational play as a curricular scaffold: Using videogames to support science education. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 18, 305-320.

Day, S. B., & Goldstone, R. L. (2009). Analogical transfer from interaction with a simulated physical system. Proceedings of the Thirty-First Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, 1406-1411. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Cognitive Science Society.

Gerganov, A., Grinberg, M., & Goldstone, R. L. (2009). Partial position transfer in categorical perception learning. Proceedings of the Thirty-First Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, 1828-1833. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Cognitive Science Society.

Hendrickson, A T., & Goldstone, R. L. (2009). Perceptual unitization in part-whole judgments. Proceedings of the Thirty-First Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, 1084-1089. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Cognitive Science Society.

Landy, D. H., & Goldstone, R. L. (2009). How much of symbolic manipulation is just symbol pushing? Proceedings of the Thirty-First Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, 1072-1077. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Cognitive Science Society.

Son, J. Y., & Goldstone, R. L. (2009). Fostering General Transfer with Specific Simulations. Pragmatics and Cognition, 17, 1-42.

Son, J. Y., & Goldstone, R. L. (2009). Contextualization in perspective. Cognition and Instruction, 27, 51-89.