Children's Thinking

One of the most eminent of psychologists, Clark Hull, claimed that the essence of reasoning lies in the putting together of two 'behaviour segments' in some novel way, never actually performed before, so as to reach a goal.

Two followers of Clark Hull, Howard and Tracey Kendler, devised a test for children that was explicitly based on Clark Hull's principles. The children were given the task of learning to operate a machine so as to get a toy. In order to succeed they had to go through a two-stage sequence. The children were trained on each stage separately. The stages consisted merely of pressing the correct one of two buttons to get a marble; and of inserting the marble into a small hole to release the toy.

The Kendlers found that the children could learn the separate bits readily enough. Given the task of getting a marble by pressing the button they could get the marble; given the task of getting a toy when a marble was handed to them, they could use the marble. (All they had to do was put it in a hole.) But they did not for the most part 'integrate', to use the Kendlers' terminology. They did not press the button to get the marble and then proceed without further help to use the marble to get the toy. So the Kendlers concluded that they were incapable of deductive reasoning.


Q1. Howard and Tracey Kendler studied under Clark Hull.