It has been claimed that in the course of developing time concepts, young children go through a stage in which they conceptualize duration as being dependent on endings of events rather than on beginnings and endings. This conceptual deficit was proposed to account for children's greater success in comparing durations that differ in their endings than durations that differ in their beginnings. The present study analyzes the possibility that this phenomenon may be attributed mainly to perceptual salience rather than to conceptual deficit. 360 children from nursery school, kindergarten, and 1st grade were asked to compare the burning times of 2 lights that started and/or ended simultaneously. The role of attention to beginning vs end points in duration judgment was investigated by manipulating beginning- vs end-point salience via systematic variations of sequence of the problems presented. Correct comparisons of duration problems were found to be a function of the relative salience of beginning vs end points. Results support the salience attention model rather than the conceptual deficit account of duration judgments of young children. (17 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).
- salience of beginning- vs endpoint, duration comparisons of light burning times, nursery school students vs kindergartners vs 1st graders