The causes of things : the effects of age and schooling on the development of physical and personal causality in Zambian children
Das Gupta, Prajnaparamita
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This study was designed to: 1. Investigate developmental differences in the development of Physical and Personal Causality; 2. Identify the different stages in the development of Personal Causality; 3. Investigate the effect of schooling on the development of Physical and Personal Causality; and 4. Investigate the relationship, if any, between Physical and Personal Causality. Sixty Zambian boys from an urban area (Lusaka), were divided into three groups: (a) 6 years Unschooled; (b) 12 years Unschooled, and (c) 12 years Schooled, on the basis of age and schooling. All the boys were selected from the same socio-economic class. The children were tested on measures of Physical and Personal Causality, and their responses were classified using a categorisation system developed by the investigator for the present research. It was hypothesized that developmental differences would be found in the development of Physical and Personal Causality, and that schooling would affect the development of both types of causality in some way. It was expected that stages similar to those identified by Piaget for Physical Causality would be found for Personal Causality, and that there would be a relationship between the development of Physical and Personal Causality within each of the three groups. The Fisher Exact Probability Test, and Spearman's Rank Order Correlation were used for data analysis. It was found that developmental differences do exist in the perceptions of both types of causality, and that schooling had no effect on the development of either Physical or Personal Causality. Stages similar to those found in the development of Physical Causality were identified in the development of Personal Causality as well. It was found that there was no significant relationship between Physical and Personal Causality within the three groups, but a significant relationship between Physical and Personal Causality was found within the entire sample.
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