Problem-solving strategies in impulsive and reflective second graders

James D. McKinney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Identified 30 reflective and 30 impulsive 2nd graders from scores on the Matching Familiar Figures Test. In a matrix-solution task, Ss were shown 16 drawings of flowers and told to locate the correct flower by asking questions that could be answered by "yes" or "no." Each S solved 3 problems, which were each scored for the use of 1 of 4 strategies: testing 1 stimulus attribute on each informative trial (focusing strategy); testing 1 stimulus at a time in an orderly fashion (scanning strategy); testing specific stimuli without a discernable pattern (random strategy); and using any combination of these strategies (mixed strategy). Results show that 73% of the reflectives used a focusing strategy and 55% of the impulsives used random or mixed strategies; few Ss used a scanning strategy. Data support the conclusion that reflective children consider several alternative hypotheses and use a strategy that tests the relevance of conceptual categories, while impulsive children use information in a random, trial-and-error manner. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages1
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1973


  • problem-solving strategies, impulsive vs. reflective 2nd graders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Life-span and Life-course Studies
  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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