The present study assesses intensional knowledge of superordinate categories in preschool children. This assessment is part of a larger programmatic research effort aimed at the development of a cognitive preschool screening test to detect learning problems prior to their manifestation in school failure. Necessary prerequisites for including intensional superordinate category knowledge as a potential component of this screening test are addressed: (a) Are there substantial variations in this knowledge across preschool children? (b) Can the knowledge be measured reliably using game-like picture tasks? (c) Do individual differences in this knowledge relate to the child's current level of intellectual functioning? An underlying assumption for the development of this screening test is that assessing gradually emerging abstract knowledge that develops through active, ongoing processing is more likely to predict learning problems than assessing knowledge that develops through rote associative learning. Consistent with this approach was the prediction that one component of intension, knowledge of differences, would be a better predictor of current functioning than knowledge of similarities. The data support this contention. Although both knowledge of similarities and differences was stable within an individual, variable among individuals and highly correlated with each other, only knowledge of differences related to the child's concurrent level of intellectual functioning.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology