ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

›› 2007, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (06): 1055-1062.

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Cognitive Development on Recognizing Goal-directed Action of Biological Kinds in 4-to-7-Year-Olds

Qin Sulan   

  1. China National Institute for Educational Research, Beijing 100088, China
  • Received:2006-02-13 Revised:1900-01-01 Published:2007-11-30 Online:2007-11-30
  • Contact:

    Qing Sulan

Abstract: Creatures are the living entities, which go for advantages and avoid disadvantages in order to keep themselves living and race breeding, so all creatures have goal-directed action. Goal-directed action is the basic nature for living things, but non-living things have no such nature, so it is an important standard to distinguish living and non-living things, but for 4-to-7-year-old children, the following three questions are uncertain. How or Whether they carry on entity distinguish of living things and non- living things by goal-directed action, or whether the children have formed the naïve biology theory in this dimension, so this study will provide theory and experimental proof for naïve biology theory development in children’s core domain.
The study has applied structure mode interviewing, by making simulated true situation cartoon story scenarios (three for each of animals, plants, and non-living things, the orders are counterbalanced), subjects are tested individually according to the presenting modes on the computer. Subjects are children from 4 to 7-years-old, among them, children of 4-year-old are 25, children of 5-year-old, children of 6-year-old children of 7-year-old are all 24, 49 boys , 48 girls. The study is 3(animals, plants, man-made things) by 4(age) mixed experiment design, entity stimulants are subject design, age is design among subject.
Results showed that: (1) For 4-7children, the cognitive development of entity distinguish in goal-directed action dimension embodies four stages from low level to high level: cognitive mode based on teleology (0 level), cognitive mode based on animals(level 1), cognitive mode based on living things (level 2) and the cognitive pattern based on entity distinguish(level 3). (2)For 4-7 children, the consistency of cause and effect cognitive development and entity distinguish development has also experienced the process from vague to polarization and concordance. (3) For children, 5-year-old and 6-year-old is the fast period of goal-directed cognitive development, domain knowledge has obvious simulative effect, but affected by age and domain tasks.
Under such experimental situation, according to the analysis on goal-directed action cognitive development quality and quantity, we have concluded: The children’s cognitive development doesn’t follow the rule of all or none, while it follows the unity rule of continuous and stage. According to naïve biology theory by Inagaki and “theory” theory by Wellman, and children’s goal-directed action entity distinguish, cause and result cognition and its unity, the study shows that preschoolers form gradually the naïve biology theory in goal-directed action dimension, field knowledge can promote children’s cognition development, what’s more, the result is best in Zone of Proximal Development and key developing period

Key words: preschoolers, goal-directed action, naï, ve biology theory, domain knowledge

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