Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access theses, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.
Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis through interlibrary loan.
Theses that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.
Year Degree Awarded
No study using visual stimuli has unequivocally demonstrated that irrelevant information interferes more with childrens 1 performances . than it does with those of adults. Eighteen Ss in each of four age groups (six-, nine-, twelve-year olds and adults) each sorted, as quickly as possible, thirteen decks of twenty four cards apiece into two predetermined, clearly marked piles. Each deck was defined by one relevant dimension; and zero, one, or two irrelevant dimensions. Three binary dimensions were used: form, line orientation and position of a star. Additional Ss —ages seven, eight, ten and eleven—sorted decks with zero and two irrelevant dimensions. The temporal magnitude of the interference effect decreased nearly uniformly as a function of increasing age. The percent of cases of interference, however, remained high (70-80#) until age twelve, then fell to the low adult level (4-8$). There were significant age x relevant dimension and relevant dimension x amount of irrelevant information interaction effects. The results support the hypothesis that children younger than age twelve process more information than is necessary for task performance; with increasing age they process the information more quickly. After age twelve children are able to block out irrelevant information so that it no longer interferes with their performances.