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Ramani, Geetha Balaraman (2006) COOPERATIVE PLAY AND PROBLEM SOLVING IN PRESCHOOL CHILDREN. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The effects of setting on cooperative play and problem solving in preschool children were examined. The study investigated whether a cooperative problem-solving setting that was more like informal social play promoted more effective cooperation and problem solving than a setting that was more structured, and whether the benefits of the play-like setting generalized to another problem solving task. The study also examined the development of cooperative problem solving skills across the preschool years. Four- and five-year-old same-age, same-sex dyads were randomly assigned to complete a problem solving building task in a more play-like, flexible, and child-driven setting or in a more structured and adult-driven setting. The older children built more complete, complex structures with a greater number of blocks than younger children. Children in the play-like setting built more complex structures and utilized observational learning more than children in the structured condition, although no significant condition differences emerged for cooperative behavior and communication. Performance differences also carried over into a subsequent joint problem solving task. Across both settings, individual differences in cooperative skills were related to children's task performance. The results suggest that problem solving skills develop through the preschool years, and that cooperative problem solving in age-appropriate play-like settings is an effective way to promote and investigate both cooperative behavior and cooperative learning in young children.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Ramani, Geetha Balaramangrb22@pitt.eduGRB22
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBrownell, Celiabrownell@pitt.eduBROWNELL
Committee MemberJohnson, Carljohnson@pitt.eduJOHNSON
Committee MemberSchofield, Janetschof@pitt.eduSCHOF
Committee MemberCampbell, Susansbcamp@pitt.eduSBCAMP
Date: 20 March 2006
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 25 August 2005
Approval Date: 20 March 2006
Submission Date: 19 November 2005
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: cooperative play; peer interaction; cooperative problem solving; preschool children
Other ID:, etd-11192005-153828
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:05
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:51


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