ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2018, Vol. 50 ›› Issue (12): 1381-1389.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2018.01381

• 研究报告 • 上一篇    下一篇


王志丹1, 周爱保2(), 张荣华2, 卜梦瑾1, 李玉雯1, 王海静1, WilliamsonRebecca3   

  1. 1 江苏师范大学教育科学学院, 徐州 221116
    2 西北师范大学心理学院, 兰州 730070
    3 美国佐治亚州立大学心理系, 亚特兰大 30302
  • 收稿日期:2017-07-10 发布日期:2018-10-30 出版日期:2018-11-30
  • 基金资助:
    * 教育部人文社会科学研究青年基金(18YJC190024);江苏省高校哲学社会科学基金项目(2017SJB0953)

The development of preschool children’s inductive reasoning about weight: A cross-cultural comparison of Sino-US

WANG Zhidan1, ZHOU Aibao2(), ZHANG Ronghua2, BU Mengjin1, LI Yuwen1, WANG Haijing1, WILLIAMSON Rebecca3   

  1. 1 School of Education Science, Jiangsu Normal University, Xuzhou 221116, China
    2 School of Psychology, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730070, China
    3 Department of Psychology, Georgia State University, Atlanta 30302, USA
  • Received:2017-07-10 Online:2018-10-30 Published:2018-11-30


关于物体重量认知的研究是探讨儿童整个认知发展的重要途径之一。本文通过两个实验考察了美国和中国儿童利用语言标签基于重量进行归纳推理的发展特点及跨文化一致性。实验人员利用语言标签提示三个外部知觉特征完全相似物体中的一个物体, 随后要求儿童从剩余两个物体中选择一个他们认为和目标物体共享语言标签的物体。研究考察儿童是否能够基于物体的内在属性重量进行类别判断。结果显示:(1) 4岁和5岁儿童以重量进行归纳推理显著高于3岁儿童, 4岁和5岁儿童之间的差异不显著; (2) 美国和中国4岁和5岁儿童的表现均显著高于随机水平, 3岁儿童与随机水平没有显著差异; (3) 美国2岁儿童的表现边缘低于随机水平, 6岁儿童显著高于随机水平。总之, 儿童利用语言标签进行基于重量的归纳推理随年龄增长而发展; 美国和中国儿童在发展特点及年龄转折上具有跨文化一致性, 4岁儿童具备了利用语言标签进行基于物体内在属性归纳推理的能力。

关键词: 重量, 归纳推理, 内在属性, 跨文化一致性


Weight has been of interest to scientists from early in the study of cognitive development. More recent research indicates that preschool is an important transition period for using weight generally across tasks in the physical domain. For example, 4-year-olds, but not 3-year-olds, can choose a heavy versus a light object to make a balance with an intermediate weight tip and category objects by weight through observing others’ demonstration. In this research, we investigate when American (Study 1) and Chinese children (Study 2) can use verbal labels to make inductive reasoning about weight, and whether this ability is cross-cultural universal


In Study 1, two- to 6-year-old American children (N = 100) were familiarized with three identical-appearing objects, two of them have one weight, the third one has another weight (e.g., two heavy, one light). The experimenter picked up one object and said “This is a dax.” Children were requested to find another “dax” from the left two objects and give it to the experimenter. If the experimenter label a heavy object, the child chooses the heavy one of the two objects, s/he was scored as a 1. In contrast, if s/he chooses the light one, s/he was scored as a 0. There are two trials, thus, the total scores ranged from 0 to 2. The results indicated that there was a significant effect of age, H (4) = 41.75, p < 0.001. Children’s responses were compared to chance levels and the results suggested that the performance of 4-year-olds (p = 0.004), 5-year-olds (p < 0.001), and 6-year-olds (p < 0.001) was significantly above chance. However, the performance of 3-year-olds (p = 0.16) was not significantly different from chance, the performance of 2-year-olds was marginal significantly below chance (p = 0.055). To sum up, children can successfully pass the task by the age of 4


In Study 2, we examined whether Chinese children also can use the verbal label to make inductive reasoning about weight by age 4. Three- to 5-year-olds (N = 60) were recruited to participate in the experiment. All the procedures were the same as Study 1 except that: (a) children were tested in their school; (b) two new verbal labels were created to label the objects-"delu" and "peru". The results indicated that the effect of age is significant, H (2) = 18.71, p < 0.001. The performance of 4-year-olds (p < 0.001) and 5-year-olds (p < 0.001) was significantly above chance. However, the performance of 3-year-olds (p = 0.10) was not significantly different from chance


Overall, this research provides a timeline for the development of children using verbal label in inductive reasoning about invisible weight in the physical domain. At age 4, both American and Chinese children can reliably apply the verbal categorical label to weight. In addition, it appears that age 3 to 4 is an important transition period for solving such task universally despite of cultural difference. The three possible reasons that could account for the developmental difference were discussed. Also discussed were the implications of cognitive development for science education.

Key words: weight, inductive reasoning, invisible property, cross-cultural universal