Infant and Child Development

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Volume 7 Issue 2 (June 1998), Pages 61-117

Cognitive modifiability as a function of mother–child mediated learning strategies, mothers' acceptance–rejection, and children's personality (pages 79-99)

Abstract

This study investigated (a) the effects of mediated learning experience (MLE) in mother–child interactions on cognitive modifiability as measured by dynamic assessment, (b) the effects of mothers' acceptance–rejection towards their children and the children's personality on the mothers' MLE strategies, (c) the combined effects of the mothers' acceptance–rejection, children's personality, and MLE strategies on children's cognitive modifiability, and (d) the prediction of cognitive modifiability by MLE interactions in two distinct conditions: free‐play and structured. Fifty‐four mother–child dyads (26 boys and 28 girls) in grade 2 were videotaped interacting in two situations: free‐play and structured. The interactions were analysed with observation of mediation instrument using five criteria: intentionality and reciprocity, transcendence, meaning, feelings of competence, and regulation of behaviour. The children were administered the parent acceptance–rejection questionnaire, the personality assessment questionnaire, and the children's inferential thinking modifiability test. A distal–proximal factors of cognitive modifiability model was used to explain causal paths among mothers' acceptance–rejection and children's personality (distal) on MLE (proximal), and of both on children's cognitive modifiability. A structural equation model analysis revealed that (a) all MLE criteria were predicted by the distal factors of mothers' acceptance–rejection and children's personality, (b) none of the mothers' attitudes or children's personality factors explained the children's cognitive factors, (c) MLE criteria of transcendence and regulation of behaviour explained the children's CITM‐post‐teaching score but not the CITM‐pre‐teaching score. The results are discussed in relation to Feuerstein's MLE theory and Tzuriel's previous results with preschool children. © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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