Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Document Type


Date of this Version



Thesis (M.S.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1964. Department of Home Economics.


Copyright 1964, the author. Used by permission.


The specific objectives established for this study were as follows: (1) to explore the relationship between chronological age and attention span among a group of young children; (2) to examine the relationship between mental age and attention span; and (3) to determine if a sex difference exists in attention span.

Hypothesis one assumed that as the chronological age of the child increased, the span of attention tended to increase.Hypothesis two stated that with increments in mental ability a child would tend to show increments in attention span.Hypothesis three assumed that girls would tend to persevere longer than boys.

The sample was composed of 41 girls and 38 boys from the University of Nebraska Nursery School and from kindergarten and first grade at Bancroft Elementary School in Lincoln, Nebraska.

During the study each child was presented two experimental tasks.The more complex task was referred to as Task I and involved the manipulation of muddling dough in an attempt to duplicate the perfect five-pointed star made by the experimenter.Task II, a relatively simple activity, entailed a painting experience in which the children were to duplicate a simple painting of a rabbit which had been painted free-hand by the experimenter.The time during which a child continued to engage in the activity denoted his attention span.

Hypothesis one was supported by the data in this study.It was therefore assumed that attention span tends to increase with increments in chronological age.The second hypothesis was rejected due to lack of supporting evidence, which would indicate a significant relationship between attention span and mental age among young children.Due to the fact that there was only one correlation in support of the hypothesis, it was rejected. The third hypothesis assumed that girls have a longer span of attention than do boys.In light of the findings, the writer felt that since there was lack of support on Task I and inconclusive support for Task II the hypothesis must be rejected.

Advisor:Harold Abel