Strategic Alternatives - Stanford University

Strategic Alternatives - Stanford University

Hasselhorn, M. (1992). Task Dependency and the Role of Category Typicality and Metamemory in
the Development of an Organizational Strategy. Child Development, 63.
Theory
Strategic activation of ones own category knowledge
emerges between 8-10 years of age
Competence should become evident, at least, when
supportive task environments and list materials available
Expect evidence in three behavioral aspects (when high
typical items presented in sort-recall task):

amount and speed (10yo superior to 8 yo)
recall consequences and metamemory antecedents
obtained (10yo but not for 8yo)
capacity of strategic subjects (greater for 10yo than 8yo)

Methodology
192 German children (50/50, grades 2&4), from 3 public
elementary schools
Distal specific metamemory assessed by modified version
of Organized List subtest (designed by Borkowskis
metamemory battery)
15-20 min sessions: sort-recall & free recall tests
Sort-recall: 24 cards with images, experimenter names
items, child told to arrange in sequence deemed best for
his/her learning, (30 sec questions to control for recency
effects), child asked to recall items in any order, child asked
to think over recall and to say how s/he managed to
remember so many pictures
Free recall: same as above except, items presented in
fixed, randomized order with no 2 pictures from same
category appearing contiguously, cards named by
experimenter at controled rate (1 per 4 sec) and procedure
repeated 3 times
Strengths
First step in assessing results was to test for sex effects,
which found significant differences for recall (and not for other
dependent measures)
Weaknesses
Over 90% of subjects from middle- or upper-class homes
Does not take into consideration possibility of different
natural learning styles (visual vs aural)
Does not mention other possible influences on abilities (no
sense of curriculum)

Key Insight

QuickTime and a
TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor
are needed to see this picture.

Findings
Grade differences in category clustering are function of age
differences in category knowledge in free recall task, but not
in sort-recall/high typicality condition
Believe 4th grade ability to use working memory capacity
explained by metamemorial competence, which elicits use of
organizational strategy when appropriate contextual support
available
Key finding: childrens use of organizational strategy
significantly influenced by task (sort-recall much easier than
free recall, higher levels of clustering and recall for sortrecall, latency period differences far greater in sort-recall,
proximal and metamemorial awareness of category structure
of to-be-remembered items significantly higher)

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