Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Family Consumer Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Gerald R. Adams


Gerald R. Adams


Jay D. Schvanveldt


J. Craig Peery


Michael B. Toney


The major purpose of this investigation was to assess the potential effects of preschool education on indices of social competency. In specific, it was proposed that preschool education effects would be observed on measures of empathy, role-taking and listening.

A Solomon Four Group Design was employed to accomplish this task, using exposure of preschoolers to the Utah State University Child Development Laboratories for one quarter as the experimental treatment condition. While the typical Solomon design uses only one pretest-posttest experimental group, two groups were identified in this investigation since children were drawn from two preschool labs taught by different head teachers. Groups 3, 4, and 5 followed the conventional design, being; pretest-posttest, treatment - posttest and posttest only control groups, respectively. Experimental group subjects were randomly assigned from the child development labs, while control groups came from families living in the surrounding communities.

Developmental changes over time were observed for empathy and listening skills, but were not observed on the role-taking measure. Some evidence was presented to suggest that empathy may be primarily influenced by maturational effects, while listening skill development may be primarily influenced by preschool educational experiences . In particular , memory and auditory sequencing were found to be highly influenced by preschool influences . Further, there were also classroom differences, which indicate that either the individual teacher or classroom curriculum has specific influences which were not directly explored in this investigation. The practical significance of these findings and their relationship to existing literature was discussed.