Psychology ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 8-26-1977


The relationship between the complete learning concept task and Piagetian tasks used to evaluate the presence and extent of formal operations was investigated with adult college students. The results of this study demonstrate that both solving and nonsolving in concept tasks are a subject related parameter and are stable over twenty-four to thirty-six hour intervals. The generality of formal operations in adult college students was found to be significantly less than that predicted by Piaget. The relationship between the concept task and the Piagetian formal operations tasks was assessed using correlations and was found to be significant. In addition, the type of con­ceptual strategy used by the subjects was found to be predictive of performance on the formal operations tasks. The results are discussed in terms of the cognitive skills used by the solvers and the cognitive deficits present in the nonsolvers. Theoretical implications of the analysis of formal operations as a subset of concept formation are discussed as are the educational implications. It is con­cluded that the concept paradigm represents a significant methodological improvement over the Piagetian tasks currently used for formal operations assessment.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Peder J. Johnson

Second Committee Member

Francis S. Harnick

Third Committee Member

John P. Gluck

Fourth Committee Member

Carol E. Conrad

Document Type


Included in

Psychology Commons