The current study investigates whether social interaction without communication between partners may influence preschoolers’ flexibility. Fifty-three 5 year old Singaporean children were randomly assigned to three conditions of a block sorting task (Fawcett & Garton, 2005): playing individually, cooperating with another player, and competing against another player. To control for individual differences, before the block sorting task children were given four cognitive tasks testing vocabulary, short-term memory, and executive function, as well as two affective scales on mood and motivation. Separate one-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) showed that although they performed the same on the cognitive tasks and the affective measures, children in the competition condition sorted blocks along significantly more dimensions compared to children in the individual condition. These results suggest that preschoolers’ flexibility is sensitive to social contexts.
Qu, L., Audrey, L. S., Jun, L. P., & Qun, N. H. (2013). The impact of social context on preschoolers’ flexibility. In Y. Kashima, E. S. Kashima, & R. Beatson (Eds.), Steering the cultural dynamics: Selected papers from the 2010 Congress of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology. https://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/iaccp_papers/94/