Intellective correlates of preschoolers’ spontaneous play

James E. Johnson, Joan Ershler, Joseph T. Lawton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Thirty-four middle class four-year-old preschoolers were observed in free play for 20 one-minute observations and behavior was coded for cognitive and social play. Five conservation tasks and the Raven Progressive Matrices and Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test were administered to each child. Three play factors labelled sociodramatic, constructive, and parallel play and two cognitive factors labelled intelligence and conservation ability were found. Correlation of factor scores showed that constructive but not sociodramatic types of play were positively and significantly associated with intelligence. Parallel play was negatively related with conservation. Whereas the latter finding is not inconsistent with the Piagetian hypothesis that social interaction and decentration are reciprocally related, the former finding is a contribution to the play literature by suggesting that sociodramatic play may not be the only play with important cognitive consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-122
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of General Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1982

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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