The use of questions as problem-solving strategies during early childhood

Cristine H. Legare, Candice M. Mills, André L. Souza, Leigh E. Plummer, Rebecca Yasskin
2013 Journal of Experimental Child Psychology  
This study examined the strategic use of questions to solve problems across early childhood. Participants (N = 54, 4-, 5-, and 6year-olds) engaged in two tasks: a novel problem-solving question task that required asking questions to an informant to determine which card in an array was located in a box and a cognitive flexibility task that required classifying stimuli by multiple dimensions. The results from the question task indicated that there were age differences in the types of questions
more » ... ed, with 6-year-olds asking more constraint-seeking questions than 4-and 5-year-olds. The number of constraint-seeking questions asked was the only significant predictor of accuracy. Performance on the cognitive flexibility task correlated with both constraint-seeking strategy use and accuracy in the question task. In sum, our results provide evidence that the capacity to use questions to generate relevant information develops before the capacity to apply this information successfully and consistently to solve complex problems. We propose that the process of using questions as strategic tools is an ideal context for examining how children come to gain active and intentional control over problem solving.
doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2012.07.002 pmid:23044374 fatcat:nwhjbkssb5h45oryltf62v2lma