Self-instruction training with preschoolers: Generalization to proximal and distal problem-solving tasks


Twenty-seven preschool 4- and 5-year-olds were matched on a range of assessment measures and assigned to one of three instruction groups: a self-instruction group, a skills training group, and a no-treatment control group. For the first five weekly intervention sessions, treatment subjects were trained on the concepts of same and different in a visual discrimination format. During the last four intervention sessions, treatment subjects were trained on maze and size sequencing tasks. Instructional training effects were assessed after 5 and 9 weeks of training with two measures of proximal generalization, the Matching Familiar Figures Test (MFFT) and a picture sequencing task, and one measure of distal generalization, a revised version of the Tower of Hanoi. Only the self-instruction group demonstrated significant improvement on the MFFT, the picture sequencing task, and the more difficult flat ending problems on the Tower of Hanoi. These results with preschool children support the potential for generalization of self-instruction training effects to tasks both conceptually similar and dissimilar to the original training tasks. © 1984 Plenum Publishing Corporation.

Publication Title

Cognitive Therapy and Research