과학교육학 학위논문 요약과 종합해설
Linking prefrontal lobe functions with reasoning and conceptual change
The present study tested the hypotheses that adolescents' performance on scientific reasoning tasks, and their ability to acquire and use more advanced reasoning strategies and theoretical concepts are mediated by alternative teaching strategies and by inhibiting ability, planning ability, disembedding ability, and working memory capacity. Inhibiting, planning, and disembedding ability, and working memory capacity are presumably linked to prefrontal lobe function and to neurological maturation. Subjects sampled from four Korean secondary schools were administered a test of scientific reasoning ability and tests of the prefrontal lobe functions. A series of lessons on theoretical concepts were then taught. Before and after the instruction, a test of air pressure concepts was also administered. Subjects' pre- to post test gains and post-test performance on the concept tasks were used as dependent variables. The study found that inhibiting and planning ability were highly correlated with and predicted scientific reasoning, gains, and post-test performance. These results support the hypothesis that inhibiting and planning ability are significant mediators of scientific reasoning and the acquisition of theoretical concepts. Also, age, working memory capacity, and disembedding ability significantly correlated with and predicted the dependent variables. Furthermore, patterns of scientific reasoning and conceptual change were analyzed by sex across age and showed that female performance spurts and plateaus occur somewhat earlier than those of males. This result was consistent with the timing of brain growth (as measured by head circumference) by sex across age. In addition, students who failed to successfully solve two proportional reasoning tasks were given either manipulative or verbal tutoring on proportional reasoning. Results showed that manipulative tutoring produced significantly greater gains in the use of proportional reasoning. Principal components analysis showed that the measured neurological functions and maturation had two main components. Component 1, which was loaded by planning, disembedding, and working memory functions, was termed the representing process. Component 2, which was loaded primarily by the inhibiting function, was termed the inhibiting process. Scientific reasoning and the acquisition of theoretical concepts were also linked to these two components, indicating that these cognitive processes are mediated by both representing and inhibiting processes.
by Kwon, Yong-Ju
Advisor: Professor Anton E. Lawson
Department of Biology
Arizona State University, 1997