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Play and associative fluency experimenter effects may be responsible for previous positive findings



Play and associative fluency experimenter effects may be responsible for previous positive findings



Developmental Psychology 23(1): 49-53



Previous studies linking play experience and associative fluency failed to control for possible experimenter effects. Preschool children (N = 64) were assigned to one of three conditions with common objects.sbd.fantasy play, play, or imitation-or to an alternative.sbd.materials control group. They were tested for associative fluency for familiar and for novel objects, both immediately and after 1 week's delay. Precautions were taken against experimenter bias in testing and scoring. Significant differences between objects were found, and delayed test results were usually poorer than immediate test results. No significant main effects for condition were obtained. It is hypothesized that the significant effects for condition found in many previous studies were due to unconscious experimenter effects in administering the conditions and the tests. Failure to find significant condition effects in the present study is ascribed to either the lack of ecological validity of small-scale experimental studies of play and/or the lack of a major impact of play on creative and problem-solving abilities.

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Accession: 006135465

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DOI: 10.1037/0012-1649.23.1.49



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