THE FUNCTION OF CONCEPTUAL SORTING IN MEMORY OF EARLY CHILDREN
The relationship between the ability to sort words into categories and to memorize these words was investigated in Experiment 1. The Ss were 90 kindergarten children divided into 3 groups with mean CAs of 4; 2, 5 ; 0, and 6; 2. Each of these age groups was further divided into subgroups of 15 Ss each, a high frequency group and a low frequency group. The Ss were instructed to sort pictures into categories, and memorize these pictures. Two different lists of 16 words each were used. Both lists consisted of 4 words from each of 4 conceptual categories, namely, vegetable, fruit, clothing, and vehicle. One of the lists consisted of frequent category members and the other of infrequent category members. The results indicated that the number of categories correctly sorted and the number of words recalled increased in parallel as a function of age. These results were interpreted as showing that the development in memory is closely related to the development in concept.
The purpose of Experiment 2 was to investigate whether the utilization of concept facilitates the storage process or the. ,retrieval process of memory. The basic design was a 2 x 2 x 3 factorial with three between-subject variables. These included sorting task (presence or absence of the sorting task), retrieval cues (presence or absence of the retrieval cues), and age. The Ss were 180 kindergarten children similarly divided into 3 age groups with mean CAs of 4; 3, 5; 2, and 6; 3. The lists were the same as used in high frequency condition in Experiment 1. The results indicated that retrieval cues markedly facilitated recall in all age levels, although the main effect of sorting task was not obtained. These results were interpreted as indicating that the utilization of concept aids the retrieval process rather than the storage process of memory. Furthermore, it was noticed that the utilization of concept also helps the storage process since the sorting task x retrieval cue interaction was obtained.