One of their most recent publications is The logical and empirical bases of conservation judgements. Which was published in journal Cognition.

More information about Thomas R. Shultz research including statistics on their citations can be found on their Copernicus Academic profile page.

Thomas R. Shultz's Articles: (6)

The logical and empirical bases of conservation judgements

AbstractIt is argued that conservation judgements are based on a particular combination of logical necessity and empirical belief. The empirical belief is that a given transformation will not alter a particular quantity (Elkind's conservation of identity). The logical aspect is a transitive deductive argument containing an initial equivalence of two quantities and the conservation of identity belief as premises which lead to the conclusion of maintained equivalence (Elkind's conservation of equivalence). In two experiments, it is shown that conservation of identity beliefs can be manipulated in subjects who have long since developed the capacity for transitive deductive inference. Untrained 10 year olds were unaware of how sublimation acts to alter certain quantities over particular transformations of shape. And untrained adults incorrectly believed that both the area and perimeter of a closed figure would be conserved over transformations which elongated the figure. Both groups of subjects could be trained in the correct conservation of identity beliefs and this affected their conservation of equivalence judgements in predicted ways. It is suggested that the locical aspect of conservation is developmentally stable and that the empirical aspect varies widely across problems and individuals because of its dependence on relevant experience.

The role of incongruity and resolution in children's appreciation of cartoon humor☆

AbstractTwo experiments were conducted to test a number of predictions derived from a cognitive theory of humor. The theory specified that incongruity and resolution are structural aspects of the joke which a subject must understand in order to fully appreciate the intended humor. The experiments involved presenting elementary school children with a number of cartoons and obtaining measures of both their appreciation and their comprehension of the cartoons. Original, incongruity-removed, and resolution-removed cartoon forms were used to assess the humor-inducing effects of incongruity and resolution.The results indicated a tendency for the child first to identify an incongruity and then proceed to resolve it for each cartoon that he saw. If he was unable to discover the criterial incongruity (i.e., the one intended by the cartoonist), he typically invented a noncriterial incongruity and tried to resolve that. If he was unable to provide the criterial resolution, he typically employed a noncriterial resolution. Whether criterial or noncriterial, incongruity and resolution were both byportant for humor appreciation. This was demonstrated both by comparisons of the funniness of original and altered cartoon forms and by internal analyses of the relation between the comprehension and appreciation measures.Some types of resolution were found to be more comprehensible than others and this was attributed to the different amount of cognitive work that cach resolution type requires. Developmental trends regarding comprehension of incongruity and resolution were attributed to informational, as opposed to structural, factors. A number of possible explanations for developmental diffcrences in appreciation of the cartoons were briefly discussed.

Development of the concepts of energy conservation and entropy☆

AbstractDevelopment of the concepts of energy conservation and entropy was studied in children between 5 and 15 years of age. Energy conservation, as illustrated by the operation of double and colliding pendulums, was not well understood until about 15 years of age. Understanding of entropy was dependent on the particular apparatus used. When illustrated by the gradual mixing of rolling marbles of different colors, entropy was understood by 9- to 15-year-olds. But when illustrated by the eventual equalization of water levels in two interconnected containers, entropy was not well understood until about 15 years of age. Errors on a problem used to illustrate the conservation concept could often be characterized by the misapplication of the entropy concept and vice versa.

Simulating Stages of Human Cognitive Development with Connectionist Models

ABSTRACTThe psychological literature on stages of cognitive development was reviewed and found to contain support for the idea that stages represent ordinal, qualitative changes in organized knowledge structures. There was a lack of empirical support for the notions that stage transitions are abrupt and concurrent. All of these findings were found to be consistent with new connectionist models of cognitive development. A fundamental insight emerged from working with such models, namely, that stages result when a network solves part of a problem before solving all of the problem. Partial problem solving in connectionist networks is likely to occur under the following conditions: hidden unit herding, over-generalization, training pattern bias, and hidden unit recruitment.

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