Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




David R. Stone


The effects of learning upon the rate of conservation attainment and its transference to other areas of performance were studied using 17 mentally retarded subjects.

Subjects found to be non-conservers on pretests were taught conservation and correspondence using a variety of tasks modeled from Piaget's experiments. They were also pretested on the WISC Information and Picture Arrangement Sub-tests and a number concept test. Following the learning experiences, the subjects were posttested using the same measures used for pretesting with the exception of the number test where an alternate form was used.

Significant correlations were found between the conservation pretest scores and General Intelligence (r=.72), Chronological Age (r=.66), Mental Age (r=.91), Information sub-test (r=.76), Picture Arrangement sub-test (r=.83), and number concept test scores (r=.64).

There were significant posttest gains on conservation (F=79.98, p<.01), Information (F=14.56, p<.01), Picture Arrangement (F=6.62, p<.05), and number concept scores (F=6.99, p<.05), indicating tentatively that conservation attainment can be accelerated by learning with a possible effect on related areas of performance.

Scores on an instrument designed to measure internalization of the concepts showed significant gains on posttest (F=15.97, p<.01). However, posttest scores on this measure did not correlate significantly with gains on other measures.



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