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October 2021

Do young children use objects as symbols?

Author(s): Striano, T., Rochat, P.

Journal/Book: Brit J Develop Psychol. 1999; 17: St Andrews House, 48 Princess Rd East, Leicester Le1 7Dr, Leics, England. British Psychological Soc. 563-584.

Abstract: Much of young children's symbolic play is heavily scaffolded by adult symbolic action models, which children may imitate, and by adult verbal scripts. The current studies attempted to evaluate 18-35-month-old children's symbolic skills in the absence of such scaffolding. In a study of symbol comprehension, children were rested for their ability to comprehend an adult's use of either a replica object or an associated gesture to communicate which object in an array she want ed. In a study of symbol production, children were given some objects that afforded symbolic manipulations, but without adult symbolic action models or verbal scripts. The results of the two studies converged to suggest chat children below 2 years of age have symbolic skills with gestures, but: nor with objects. It was also found that while children at 26 months were able to use an object as a symbol for another object, they had difficulties when the symbol had another conventional use (e.g. A drinking cup used as a hat). The findings are discussed in terms of DeLoache's dual representation model, and a modification of chat: model is proposed.

Note: Article Tomasello M, Max Planck Inst Evolutionary Anthropol, Inselstr 22, D-04103 Leipzig, GERMANY


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