Ninety-one college students (69 women, 22 men) participated in a brief intervention to explore the effects of peer collaboration on the acquisition of the understanding that water remains invariantly horizontal. Working from a Piagetian, constructivist perspective, the authors expected that the opportunity to explore and discuss the representation of liquid in a tilted container with a peer would enhance the students' understanding of the water-level problem. The men outperformed the women. Although peer collaboration did not lead to greater understanding than working alone, peer interaction data showed that the men and women talked about the problem differently. Furthermore, the use of gesture during peer discussion predicted spatial understanding. The findings are discussed in terms of their implications for research on peer learning.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Gender differences
- Piagetian theory