The effect of labeling on preschool children's performance in the Dimensional Change Card Sort Task

Ulrich Müller, Philip D. Zelazo, Leah E. Lurye, Dana P. Liebermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

Previous research suggests that experimenter-induced labeling of test cards improves preschoolers' performance on the Dimensional Change Card Sort Task (DCCS), a measure of flexible rule use. Three experiments attempted to further clarify how labeling aids performance on the DCCS. Experiment 1 examined the nature of the labeling effect but failed to show any benefit of labeling on children's performance. Experiment 2 failed to replicate the labeling effect reported by [Kirkham, N. Z., Cruess, L. M., & Diamond, A. (2003). Helping children apply their knowledge to their behavior on a dimension-switching task. Developmental Science, 6, 449-467] despite closely matching their procedures. Experiment 3 demonstrated that labeling procedures designed to counteract the suppression of the post-switch sorting dimension also failed to improve performance on the DCCS. We discuss the implications of these findings for identifying factors that positively affect preschoolers' cognitive flexibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-408
Number of pages14
JournalCognitive Development
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2008

Keywords

  • Executive function
  • Labeling
  • Preschool children

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