University students' understanding of nonconservation: Implications for structural reversion

Sidney Strauss, Josepha Damnziger, Tsila Ramati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Showed 30 undergraduates the nonbalancing of a pan balance scale when a surreptitious deception was performed in an otherwise traditional weight conservation task. The purpose of this study was to determine how Ss understood some of the following laws before, during, and after the deception: (a) matter conservation, (b) weight conservation, (c) gravity, and (d) the functioning of levers. Results show that before the deception every S understood all 4 laws. During and after the deception, those who accepted the nonbalancing phenomenon explained it in terms of laws of the lever. It is argued that the evidence supports the prediction that structural regression does not occur. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-363
Number of pages5
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1977


  • nonbalancing of pan balance scale via surreptitious deception, understanding of nonconservation, college students, implications for structural reversion


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