Does social sensitivity influence collaborative problem solving in children? A preliminary investigation
Australian Psychological Society
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Computing, Health and Science
This study explores whether social sensitivity influences children’s problem solving skills or learning after collaboration with a peer. Most research into the impact of collaborative problem solving on individual skills demonstrates that the problem solving skills an individual brings to the collaborative process are a key factor in predicting the presencelabsence of cognitive change. Only recently have other attributes and/or skills, such as social or interpersonal sensitivity, been considered within this framework. This study investigates whether interpersonal sensitivity contributes to differential outcomes in learning after collaborative problem solving. One hundred 8-year-old children participated in a pre-test/collaboration/post-test design study where four groups based on pre-test problem solving ability (high/low) and pre-test social sensitivity scores (high/low) were constructed for the collaborative problem solving task. Low ability/high sensitivity children showed pre- to post-test improvement in their problem solving when paired with high ability children. Social sensitivity only predicted final problem solving in high sensitivity children. Pre-test and collaborative problem solving levels predicted post-test problem solving for children classified as high problem solving/high sensitivity. Results are discussed in relation to how social sensitivity may differentially affect the problem solving skills of children with different patterns of ability.