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.   .Click to ENLARGE . . .
.   .These photos by Muybridge
.   .illustrate the concept behind
.   .the microgenetic method in
.   .which minute changes are
.   .closely examined. Here we
.   .see changes in a horse's
.   .gait; in my research, we
.   .examine changes that occur
.   .in children's thinking as they
.   .learn new thing


The changes that occur in the first decade of life are among the most profound in the
human lifetime. It is natural, therefore, for those interested in change to be interested
in cognitive development.

My research focuses on the growth during childhood of problem solving and reasoning
skills. Three areas of particular interest are strategy choices, long-term learning, and
educational applications of cognitive-developmental theory.

The research on strategy choices focuses on how children decide which strategy to
use from among the many strategies they know. My research indicates that even
four-year-olds choose among alternative approaches in surprisingly intelligent ways.
My colleagues and I have built computational models to illustrate how young children
can make such intelligent decisions and also to show how the decisions change with
changes in knowledge and skill.
For more information see the following articles:
Siegler & Shipley, 1995;   Siegler, Adolph, & Lemaire, 1996;
Siegler & Lemaire, 1997;   Rittle Johnson & Siegler, 1999;
and Chen & Siegler, 2000.

The research on long-term learning examines how children discover new strategies.
Small numbers of children are given prolonged experience in solving problems.
Videotapes and verbal protocols obtained immediately after each problem allow
examination of the discovery, the circumstances leading up to the discovery, and the
subsequent generalization of the discovery to new problems. The emphasis is on
individual differences in patterns of learning as well as commonalities in the learning
of different children.
For more information see the following articles:
Siegler, 1995;   Shrager & Siegler, 1998;   Siegler & Chen, 1998;
Siegler & Stern, 1998;   Crowley & Siegler, 1999;   Chen & Siegler, 2000;
Siegler, 2000;   Siegler, 2002;   and Siegler & Svetina, 2002.

The research has yielded a number of educational implications, particularly in the area
of early mathematics. It is being used to develop tests to identify young children who
are at risk for later mathematical difficulties. We are also developing programs for
preventing small, easy-to-remedy, early problems in mathematics from growing into
large, intractable, later ones.
For more information see the following articles:
Geary, Bow-Thomas, Fan, & Siegler, 1996;   Rittle-Johnson, Siegler, & Alibali, 2001;
Siegler, 2003; and Siegler & Opfer, 2003.

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