University of Twente Student Theses


Figuring out how a device works: What you ask is what you get?

Müller, B.H. (2014) Figuring out how a device works: What you ask is what you get?

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Abstract:This Bachelor thesis seeks to shed further light on the consequences and implications of the Goal specificity effect (GSE). The GSE describes how already the way a goal is presented to the respondent influences how it will be dealt with. It shall also be investigated if and how the goal influences strategy choice with which the respondents try to achieve their goal. The respondents were randomly assigned into two conditions. In the experiment the children were introduced to a slot machine, made up out of 4 buttons and 4 wheels. The one condition got a non-specific-goal (What is the function of each button) whereas the other group got a specific goal (How to activate each reel). Regarding the buttons the children used to figure out how the machine works, an analysis was performed to investigate if the hypotheses were correct or not. Hypothesis 1: Respondents introduced to a non-specific goal develop a more profound causal understanding of the experimental environment than children in the other condition. Hypothesis 2: The specificity of the goal influences strategy choice. The experiment was performed at the OGS (Offene Gesamtschule Paderborn) with 25 children between 6,5 and 10,5. After a brief experimentation phase, the children reported when they felt confident using the regular slot machine. Once this was achieved the wicked slot machine was introduced, where buttons were not assigned to the wheels as they were before. Now the respondents were either set up with a specific or non-specific goal, depending on the condition. During the experiment the researcher took notes about which buttons the children activated, which later were used to analyze if there was a difference in strategy between both conditions. This experiment could document that children with a specific goal answered more questions correctly than children with a non-specific goal. The experiment failed though to identify if there was a difference in strategy choice.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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