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The role and relative importance of language in the development of perspective taking skills in young… Clinton, Jill Ann 1989

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THE ROLE AND RELATIVE IMPORTANCE OF LANGUAGE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF PERSPECTIVE TAKING SKILLS IN YOUNG CHILDREN By J I L L ANN CLINTON B.A., The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1983 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN THE REQUIREMENTS MASTER PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF FOR THE DEGREE OF OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES ( E a r l y Childhood Education) We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the r e q u i r e d standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September, 1989 (c) J i l l Ann C l i n t o n , 1989 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date OnsLnUr O ; /9fi9 DE-6 (2/88) i i ABSTRACT This study was undertaken in order to investigate the role of language in the development of perspective taking s k i l l s in young children. Theory, research, and observation into the development of these s k i l l s supports the view that language may be important in th i s development. The purpose of this experiment was to provide empirical research on the role of language in the development of these s k i l l s . There were two research questions being addressed by thi s study. They were: 1) Does the level of language competence play a role in the successful development of conceptual and perceptual perspective taking; and 2) How do children with normal language development compare to children with delayed language development in t h e i r development of conceptual and perceptual perspective taking? The experiment was designed with one independent variable (language) and two dependent variables (conceptual and perceptual perspective taking tasks). Two groups of four year old children d i f f e r i n g only in the i r language development (one normal, one delayed) were administered both a conceptual and a perceptual perspective taking task. i i i The r e s u l t s of the s t a t i s t i c a l a n a l y s es comparing the two groups on each task r e v e a l e d that the group with normal language development performed s i g n i f i c a n t l y b e t t e r than the delayed language group on the conceptual task, while the groups performed e q u a l l y well on the p e r c e p t u a l task. The r e s u l t s i n d i c a t e d that language p l a y s a more important r o l e in the development of conceptual p e r s p e c t i v e t a k i n g , and a l e s s important r o l e i n the development of p e r c e p t u a l p e r s p e c t i v e t a k i n g . iv THE ROLE AND RELATIVE IMPORTANCE OF LANGUAGE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF PERSPECTIVE TAKING SKILLS IN YOUNG CHILDREN Table of Contents Chapter Page ABSTRACT i i TABLE OF CONTENTS iv,v LIST OF TABLES vi LIST OF FIGURES v i i ACKNOWLEGEMENTS . v i i i 1. INTRODUCTION 1 Purpose of the study 1 Research Questions 1 Scope of the Study 2 Objectives 3 Importance of the Study 3 Organization of the Study 8 2. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE 10 The History of Social-Cognitive Theory 11 Piagetian Theory 13 Vygotskian Theory 16 Research on Perspective Taking 19 Measurement Instruments 22 Perceptual Tasks 22 Conceptual Tasks 25 Affective Tasks 26 Current Research on Perspective Taking in Young Children 27 Summary 30 Language Involvement in Social Cognition 32 Perspective Taking and the Exceptional Child. 34 Conclusion 39 V Table of Contents - continued 3. METHOD Design 40 Procedures for Collecting the Data 41 Sample 41 Procedure 44 Measures 45 Conceptual Task 45 Scoring 47 Perceptual Task 48 Scoring 49 Hypotheses 50 Analysis of the Data 50 4. RESULTS Conceptual Task 51 S t a t i s t i c a l Analysis 51 Descriptive Analysis 53 Discussion 55 Perceptual Task 57 S t a t i s t i c a l Analysis 57 Discussion 58 Summary 58 5. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS Summary of Experiment 61 Answers to Research Questions 64 Limitations of Study 66 General Discussion and Educational Implications 67 Suggestions for Further Research... 71 REFERENCES 73 vi LIST OF TABLES Number Page 1. Conceptual Task Means 52 2. Breakdown of C o r r e c t Responses by I n d i v i d u a l s in each Group on the Conceptual Task 54 3. Per c e p t u a l Task Means (Standard D e v i a t i o n s ) . . . 57 v i i L i s t of Figures Number Page 1. A Vygotskian View of the Interactive Development of Social Interaction, Language, Thought and Social Cognition 6 v i i i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Three years have gone into the completion of t h i s , so I would l i k e to thank some of those who helped. Thank-you to the students s t a f f and parents of Small Talk and Berwick Preschools without whom t h i s study c o u l d not have been completed. Thank-you to Dr. Kenneth Reeder f o r your valuable a s s i s t a n c e . Thank-you to Dr. H l l l e l Goelman f o r your c o u n s e l . Thank-you to S a l l y and A l f f o r your never ending p a t i e n c e . And thanks e s p e c i a l l y L a r r y , f o r your c o n t i n u a l support and encouragement. 1 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION Purgose_of _the_Studjr This study attempts to determine the role and r e l a t i v e importance of language in the development of perspective taking s k i l l s in young children. In carrying out thi s investigation the following assumptions were made: a) that l i n g u i s t i c elements contribute to the development of perspective taking and therefore in the development of soc i a l cognition o v e r a l l ; and b) that l i k e language and cognition, social-cognitive s k i l l s develop sequentially. A consequence of the f i r s t assumption and the broad position taken by this investigation is therefore, when language is delayed developmentally, perspective taking s k i l l s w i l l also be delayed developmentally. E££a§r:Sb_9uestions In studying the developmental r e l a t i o n s h i p between the growth of language and perspective taking, several questions need to be addressed: 1 a) Does the level of language s k i l l play a role in the successful development of conceptual perspective taking? 2 b) Does the level of language s k i l l play a role in the successful development of perceptual perspective taking? 2 a) How do children with normal language development compare to children with delayed language in th e i r development of conceptual perspective taking? b) How do children with normal language compare to children with delayed language in th e i r development of perceptual perspective taking? Scoge_o f _the_St udy_ This study concentrates on two perspective taking s k i l l s which have been i d e n t i f i e d in the l i t e r a t u r e : 1) conceptual perspective taking, which is the a b i l i t y to assess what another person is thinking or knows about a p a r t i c u l a r s i t u a t i o n ; and 2) perceptual perspective taking, which is the a b i l i t y to assume another's perceptual viewpoint which in terms of th i s study, involves ide n t i f y i n g what another person is seeing. The target population for the study consists of two groups of four year old children from two Vancouver preschools. One group was described by teachers as having normal language development and the other group described by t h e i r teachers and speech pathologist as having delayed language development. At the conclusion of t h i s study we w i l l have: a) Evidence for the broad assumption that children with delayed language w i l l also demonstrate delayed perspective taking s k i l l s . b) Evidence to test the assumption that the level of language competency plays an important role in the the development of conceptual perspective taking s k i l l s , and a minor role in perceptual perspective taking. c) Findings which bear upon Vygotsky's theory regarding the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the development of thought, language and s o c i a l cognition. LfiB2££§.Q£e.-Ol-the_Study. Theory, research and observation Into the development of s o c i a l cognition in young children supports the view that there are several complex processes involved in how children conceptualize and reason about their s o c i a l world. According to Luria and Yudovich (1971), complex mental processes, including the early a c q u i s i t i o n of knowledge and the formation of concepts are not innate properties of mind but develop as the c h i l d interacts with the environment, and communicates with people in his or her environment. 4 Taking this line of reasoning further, Damon (1981) and F l a v e l l (1985) have suggested that i t may be that s o c i a l interaction and the development of concepts about cognition underlie children's development of the a b i l i t y to restructure their thoughts and develop the cognitive performance necessary for everyday i n t e l l e c t u a l and s o c i a l l i f e . One basic assumption derived from recent research in the area of s o c i a l cognition is that the way in which one conceptualizes and reasons about others w i l l have a major e f f e c t on how one interacts with others (Shantz, 1983). If this assumption is correct, then the development of perspective taking is an important area for study in young ch i l d r e n . The s p e c i f i c area of investigation being addressed in th i s study is the development of perceptual and conceptual perspective taking in young children. Perspective taking, in p a r t i c u l a r conceptual perspective taking, is believed to be an a b i l i t y important to the development of e f f e c t i v e communication and s o c i a l interaction (Kurdek & Rodgon, 1975). As well, perspective taking is thought to be a developmental prerequisite for acquiring at least some s p e c i f i c knowledge about the appearance-reality d i s t i n c t i o n , which is important in helping the c h i l d to understand that what something may not be what i t appears to them. Such 5 s k i l l s , in turn, are thought to be Important in the development of pretend play and fantasy and may help to prevent misperceptions, misunderstandings, false b e l i e f s and deception ( F l a v e l l , 1985). Recently, theorists and some researchers have increasingly suggested that language may play an important role in the development of s o c i a l cognition, in p a r t i c u l a r the a b i l i t y to take another person's perspective (Kusche & Greenberg, 1983; Shantz, 1983; Shatz, 1983). They support Vygotskian theory (Vygotsky, 1962) that claims there are interactive relationships between the development of so c i a l interaction, language, thought and s o c i a l cognition. In figure 1, (refer to p. 16 in chapter 2) the s o l i d arrows demonstrate a necessary condition where language requires s o c i a l interaction (which begins right at b i r t h with parents, hospital s t a f f et cetera) to develop and where language and thought are necessary components for the development of s o c i a l cognition. The broken arrows demonstrate interactive relationships whereby one area enhances the development of another area ( i . e . s o c i a l interaction and thought and language and thought). 6 E i S H E l — L i A Vygotskian View of the Interactive Development of Social Interaction, Language, Thought and Social Cognition. This interactive theory has started researchers asking i f children with language d i f f i c u l t i e s would also exhibit s i m i l a r d i f f i c u l t i e s in th e i r development of s o c i a l cognition (Kusche & Greenberg, 1983; Shatz, 1983), because research has shown that children with delayed or disordered cognitive development generally have delayed or disordered s o c i a l cognitive development (Baron-Cohen, L e s l i e & F r i t h , 1985). Some preliminary investigations of exceptional children and th e i r perspective taking a b i l i t i e s have indicated relationships between language and the development of s p e c i f i c perspective taking s k i l l s (Kitano, S t i e h l & Cole, 1978; Kusche & Greenberg, 1983; Baron-Cohen et a l . , 1985). These studies have looked at perspective taking s k i l l s in down syndrome, a u t i s t i c and deaf children as compared with normal children. It has been found that while down syndrome SOCIAL INTERACTION 7 and deaf children were delayed in their conceptual perspective taking and language s k i l l s , conceptual perspective taking s k i l l s in both groups increased with age (mental age for the downs group) and experience. A u t i s t i c children have been found to be disordered both in th e i r perspective taking and th e i r language s k i l l s , with neither improving s u b s t a n t i a l l y with age and experience (Kitano et a l . , 1978; Kusche & Greenberg, 1983; Baron-Cohen et a l . , 1985). These r e s u l t s support the view that there is a re l a t i o n s h i p between the level of language competency and the development of conceptual perspective taking s k i l l s . However, i t would appear that the research does not go far enough. Since these studies have dealt with children with more than just language delays or disorders, they cannot conclude that i t is language per se, but rather one of any number of other variables ( i . e . cognitive delays, amount of s o c i a l experience, environment, et cetera) which may be a f f e c t i n g these children's performance on conceptual perspective taking tasks. To determine whether language development does in fact a f f e c t the development of perspective taking s k i l l s , we need to isolate language as an independent variable. 8 Therefore, one approach to ascertaining the role and r e l a t i v e importance of language in the development of perspective taking s k i l l s , is to study a population of language delayed children and compare them to a group of children with normal language development, when both groups have completed both a conceptual and perceptual perspective taking task. This is the unique contribution of this study, in that an attempt is made to control for other variables by selec t i n g groups who appear to d i f f e r only in the i r language development. QC3aui£a£ioQ_2i_£b£_2tuay_ Chapter one has stated the purpose of the study, the research questions, the objectives and ithe importance of th i s study. Chapter two provides the relevant theory and research base of the study in three main sections: a)the h i s t o r i c a l , theoretical background to the problem; b) the relevant empirical l i t e r a t u r e ; and c) studies which deal with language involvement in perspective taking s k i l l s . Chapter three outlines the design of the study, including the choice of test instruments, selection of subjects and the procedure used to gather and analyze the data gathered. Results of the data c o l l e c t i o n are presented in chapter four, with both a s t a t i s t i c a l and descriptive analysis and a 9 discussion of the findings. The f i n a l chapter includes a general discussion of the findings and conclusions regarding the research questions, theoretical implications, educational implications and further research suggestions. 10 CHAPTER TWO REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE The purpose of this chapter is to provide a rationale for the proposed study by reviewing the relevant theoretical and empirical l i t e r a t u r e . In attempting to demonstrate a theoretical link between Vygotskian theory and the current study, the chapter f i r s t addresses how the Piagetlan theory of cognitive development sets the stage for investigating the development of s o c i a l cognition. Secondly i t focuses on how Vygotskian theory emphasizes the interrelatedness of the development of language, cognition and s o c i a l cognition in young ch i l d r e n . Following t h i s , there is a review of studies which look at the contrasts of the development of perspective taking s k i l l s in children whose development is normal and delayed. F i n a l l y , there is consideration of studies which suggest that there may be some language involvement in the development of perspective taking. This chapter reviews l i t e r a t u r e in three main areas: a) l i t e r a t u r e discussing the emergence of so c i a l cognitive theory; b) current research on conceptual and perceptual perspective taking in young children; and c) studies investigating delays or disorders in the development of 11 perspective taking. According to Shantz (1983), the development of s o c i a l knowledge and reasoning as an intense focus of study has been very recent, emerging during the past f i f t e e n years. The reason for this is believed to l i e in the history of the f i e l d of psychology i t s e l f , in that s o c i a l and cognitive development were h i s t o r i c a l l y studied in i s o l a t i o n from one another. The d i v i s i o n of the two areas produced an uncomfortable d i v i s i o n for those who saw behaviour as unified and adaptive, changing constantly with the b i o l o g i c a l development of the i n d i v i d u a l . In recent years, therefore, the f i e l d of social-cognitive development focused on understanding the r e l a t i o n between s o c i a l behaviour and cognitive development in a more h o l i s t i c way. Two basic assumptions which have been derived from studying the area of social-cogntive development in th i s way are: 1) that the way in which one conceptualizes and reasons about others has a major e f f e c t on how one interacts with them; and 2) that s o c i a l interaction and experiences strongly influence the c h i l d ' s conceptions (Damon & K i l l e n , 1982; F l a v e l l , 1985; Shantz, 1983). Another Important e f f e c t of the development of t h i s f i e l d of study is that i t 12 supports an extension of the study of cognitive developoment from t r a d i t i o n a l non-social problems and processes to so c i a l problems and processes. Thus, s o c i a l cognition as an area of inquiry can be viewed as evolving in response to two h i s t o r i c a l dichotomies in psychology: the study of thinking and behaving, and the study of s o c i a l and non-social knowing (Shantz, 1983). Ty p i c a l l y , the research in s o c i a l cognition has come from d i f f e r e n t philosophical roots. In some studies s o c i a l cognition is viewed as a s p e c i f i c sort of knowledge, pertaining to so c i a l interaction, with a focus on the organization and orientation of th i s knowledge as i t develops through the l i f e span. In this approach, s o c i a l knowledge is viewed as an individual's means of interpreting s o c i a l interaction, and is therefore viewed as an aspect of cognition. The models based on this approach attempt to define the special categories and p r i n c i p l e s that structure s o c i a l knowledge at each stage of development (Damon, 1981). Other studies have considered s o c i a l cognition as the process by which persons become aware of one another's interpretations of meaning through communication and soc i a l i n teraction. These studies have investigated children's early a b i l i t i e s to engage in perspective taking (Chandler, 1976; Baron-Cohen, L e s l i e & F r i t h , 1985; F l a v e l l , Botkin, 13 Fry, Wright & J a r v i s , 1968; Marvin, Greenberg & Mossier, 1976). Piagetian_Theorx The f i r s t major work in the area of so c i a l cognition came d i r e c t l y from the Piagetian theory of cognitive development. Piaget (1959) suggested that cognitive and soc i a l development were inseparable and p a r a l l e l . He described the nature, context and content of a l l thought as inherently s o c i a l with thought shaping s o c i a l l i f e . Also, he proposed that the character of the c h i l d ' s changing cognitive organization exercised control over the kinds of soc i a l interactions in which children would successfully engage. As a consequence, the so c i a l and l o g i c a l groupings which he i d e n t i f i e d as emerging during the course of development were not regarded as merely coincidental but were viewed as d i f f e r e n t facets of the same developmental process (Chandler, 1976). Piaget (1959), believed that: The further a man has advanced in his own time of thought, the better able is he to see things from the point of view of others and to make himself understood by them. (p. 39) He viewed young children, in contrast to adults, as egocentric, claiming that much of the time when young children spoke they did not try to adopt the perspective of t h e i r l i s t e n e r s . He found that children under the age of seven were very poor communicators because they were not able to take the perspective of another. After looking at language development in conjunction with the development of thought, Piaget suggested that not only was children's thought egocentric but, consequently, their language was s i m i l a r l y limited (because language develops from thought). However, he pointed out that verbal egocentrism was much more variable than i n t e l l e c t u a l egocentrism since i t depended more on external s o c i a l factors. Piaget believed that there were two broad areas of cognition, impersonal (person-to-object) and interpersonal or s o c i a l (person-to-person). He believed that children were egocentric in t h e i r understanding of both the s o c i a l group and the external world. Impersonal cognition refered to the individual's cognitive structuring of the physical, inanimate world as seen, for example in his/her developing conceptions of l o g i c . Interpersonal cognition refered to the individual's cognitive structuring of the s o c i a l world, that i s , how he or she came to perceive others and make inferences about t h e i r inner states ( i . e . thinking and feeling) (Piaget, 1959). 15 Piaget suggested that in order to understand other people and the outside world, two conditions were necessary: 1) consciousness of oneself as a subject, with the a b i l i t y to detach subject from object so as not to attribute animate c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s to inanimate objects, and 2) avoidance of regarding one's own point of view as the only possible one. Therefore, to e s t a b l i s h a place in the group, children must learn to adapt to a s o c i a l setting as well as a physical se t t i n g by constructing an understanding which includes adjusting to others points of view. In order to test children's egocentrism, Piaget c o l l e c t e d data from tasks which were devised to assess the a b i l i t y of the c h i l d to take account of someone else's point of view. Thus, social-cognitive research in the Piagetian vein primarily focused attention on the interpersonal by looking only at the c h i l d ' s perceptual perspective taking s k i l l s . Researchers such as Donaldson and Hughes (Donaldson, 1978) have provided theoretical and empirical support for the growing b e l i e f that preschool children are not nearly so limited in t h e i r a b i l i t y to 'decentre' or appreciate someone else's perspective as Piaget had maintained. As well, there is no evidence that t h i s so-called egocentrism is a serious b a r r i e r to communication for the young c h i l d . The 16 abandonment of the b e l i e f in pronounced childhood egocentrism has far reaching implications whose significance is better understood in r e l a t i o n to language development. Donaldson and Hughes (Donaldson, 1978) believe that a l l humans are egocentric to a c e r t a i n extent throughout their l i v e s . Their research on young children, taken with Bruner (1977) and Trevarthen's (1979) work on infants and their communication with adults, tends to support the claim that even young children can 'decentre'. They have found that even at a very young age children are able to interact e f f e c t i v e l y with adults, which tends to suggest the a b i l i t y to decentre to a reasonable degree. Y.X3°tskian_Theory. Vygotsky's (1962) theory argues for an interactive r e l a t i o n s h i p between s o c i a l interaction, language and thought, with s o c i a l interaction considered c r u c i a l for the development of language, and where language is important but not always necessary for the development of thought and vice versa. He believes that the use of language as an a n a l y t i c tool helps childr e n to f i r s t experience, then develop concepts. As well, he believes that i t is the i n t e r n a l i z a t i o n of external dialogue that brings the powerful tool of language to bear on the stream of thought, 17 causing thought to undergo many changes as i t becomes speech. Vygotsky views adults* verbal interaction with children as important for stimulating the children's actions and thinking. He sees the primary functions of speech, for both children and adults, (a) as communicative and (b) for social contact. Therefore, he believes that the e a r l i e s t speech of children must be e s s e n t i a l l y s o c i a l . In Vygotsky's conception, egocentric speech is a phenomenon of the s h i f t from the s o c i a l , c o l l e c t i v e a c t i v i t y of children to t h e i r more Individualized a c t i v i t y , and not vice-versa as Piaget suggests. He views egocentric speech as a 'separate l i n g u i s t i c form' which is an extremely important genetic link in the t r a n s i t i o n from vocal to inner speech. The decreasing vocalization of egocentric speech denotes a developing abstraction from sound into the development of inner speech. This s k i l l is believed to be the a b i l i t y to 'think words' without voca l i z i n g , using language as a tool to aid thought in problem solving. The development of inner speech is believed to be a new s k i l l which is brought in from the outside along with s o c i a l i z a t i o n . Vygotsky found that the weaker children's contact is with the group ( i . e . possibly isolated from the group due to 18 physical or enviornmental reasons) the less the soc i a l s i t u a t i o n w i l l force children to adjust t h e i r thoughts to others and thus use soc i a l speech. However, this s i t u a t i o n does not increase egocentric speech but rather depresses i t , according to experimental evidence provided by Vygotsky (1962). Direct communication between minds is Impossible both physically and psychologically. Communication, according to Vygotsky can only be achieved in a roundabout way, in that thought must f i r s t pass through meanings and then words. Therefore, to comprehend another's speech, i t is not s u f f i c i e n t to understand just his or her thoughts, instead we must also know the intention behind what is said. According to Vygotsky, unless this is accomplished no psychological analysis of an utterance is complete. Although many see c o n f l i c t s in the views of both Piaget and Vygotsky, others take the view that both th e i r positions are defensible and may, i f taken together as two sides of a coin shed l i g h t on the role language plays in children's cognitive development (Shafer, Staab & Smith, 1983). The two taken together suggest an interactive r e l a t i o n s h i p between the development of thought and language, wherein Piaget views cognitive development as the the more important component, while Vygotsky views language as the essential 19 component, both suggesting that one cannot develop without the other. In the Piagetian perspective we see that cognitive and s o c i a l development are Inseparable, while Vygotsky recognizes that cognitive and s o c i a l development are separate. He recognizes however that there is an interaction between the development of language,thought and s o c i a l cognition. Thus, expanding our understanding of the i n t r i c a t e relationships between the development of the d i f f e r e n t areas. According to Vygotsky, the c h i l d ' s a b i l i t y to communicate e f f e c t i v e l y with others requires the a b i l i t y to understand another's words, thoughts and intentions. Implicit in Vygotsky's theory is the b e l i e f that langauge plays an important and essential role in the development of children's a b i l i t y to function e f f e c t i v e l y in a s o c i a l world. ££§£3£2b-2Q-£££§££££ly.£-!§!£i&9 One e a s i l y i d e n t i f i a b l e area in the l i t e r a t u r e on the development of s o c i a l cognition is a large group of studies which have followed the Piagetian vein and focused primarily on children's s o c i a l perpsective taking a b i l i t i e s (Chandler, 1976; F l a v e l l et a l . , 1968; Kurdek, 1977; Kusche & Greenberg, 1983; Selman, 1971). Much of the research on s o c i a l perspective taking consists of e f f o r t s to d e t a i l and better understand the character of the s k i l l s involved in the context of interaction. The question of when children t y p i c a l l y develop the capacity to adopt the roles and perspectives of others depends on how such perspective taking s k i l l s are defined, and on what one is w i l l i n g to accept as evidence of their occurrence. In Piagetian terminology, the a b i l i t y to take another's perspective can be seen as the development of so c i a l and cognitive decentering. Kusche and Greenberg (1983) and Selman (1971) describe role-taking as "the a b i l i t y to view the world from another's perspective." F l a v e l l et a l . (1968) defined perspective taking as: ...that process In which the Individual somehow cognizes...certain a t t r i b u t e s of another person. The a t t r i b u t e s in question are ... i n f e r e n t i a l rather than d i r e c t l y perceptible, for example the other's needs, intentions, opinions and b e l i e f s , and emotional, perceptual or i n t e l l e c t u a l capacities and l i m i t a t i o n s (p. 5). Studies r e l a t i n g children's social-cognitive development to t h e i r a b i l i t y to take the perspective of another person have included tasks looking at: perceptual s k i l l s (an inference a c h i l d makes regarding another person's v i s u a l , auditory or other perceptual experience) (Devries, 1970; Fishbein, Lewis & K e i f f e r , 1972; Piaget & Inhelder, 1956); conceptual s k i l l s (an inference a c h i l d 21 makes regarding another's internal experience, thoughts, desires, attitudes and plans) ( F l a v e l l et a l . , 1968); and a f f e c t i v e s k i l l s (the a b i l i t y to assess another person's emotional state) (Kurdek, 1977; Kurdek & Rodgon, 1975). Generally, one or more types of perspective taking (perceptual, conceptual or a f f e c t i v e ) are examined in r e l a t i o n to one or several indices of behaviour ( i . e . prosocial, communication, cognitive). Children from preschool age to early adolescence have been studied and depending on the complexity of the task ( i . e . s t o r y - t e l l i n g tasks are better with the older children and nonverbal tasks better with the younger), d i f f e r e n t r e s u l t s have been found ( i . e . s k i l l s appearing at d i f f e r e n t age levels in d i f f e r e n t studies) (Baron-Cohen et a l . , 1985; Kurdek & Rodgon, 1975; Kusche & Greenberg, 1983; Marvin, Greenberg & Mossier, 1976; Selman, 1971). The research to date has not produced any d e f i n i t i v e r e s u l t s but there have been interesting findings. Before reviewing these findings from the l i t e r a t u r e , measurement problems must be examined. The quantity, complexity and unproven v a l i d i t y of available measures necessitates caution in interpreting and comparing results of the d i f f e r e n t studies assessing perspective taking a b i l i t i e s in young children. Measurewent_Tasks A number of d i f f e r e n t procedures have been developed over the years for the purpose of assessing perspective taking s k i l l s in c h i l d r e n . Three p r i n c i p a l types of perspective taking measures have been employed in the research, and they are defined by the content area they assess: perceptual, conceptual and a f f e c t i v e perspective taking s k i l l s (Kurdek & Rodgon, 1975). Perceptual perspective taking tasks generally measure children's a b i l i t y to assume another's visual viewpoint ( i . e . i d e n t i f y what another person is seeing). T r a d i t i o n a l l y , early studies used perceptual tasks which were both too novel and too complex to accurately determine the a b i l i t y of perspective taking as i t already existed in young ch i l d r e n . A c l a s s i c example is Piaget & Inhelder's (1969) 'Three Mountains' task. This task was designed to determine the a b i l i t y of the c h i l d to take account of what another is seeing. The model is composed of three d i s t i n c t mountains which are placed in front of a c h i l d seated at a table. The c h i l d is asked to determine what the d o l l (who is seated in a d i f f e r e n t place at the table facing the mountains) sees. 23 Since a complex verbal description would be d i f f i c u l t for a young children to produce, they are given eit h e r a set of pictures of the mountains (taken at d i f f e r e n t angles) and asked to choose the picture the d o l l sees or given three cardboard mountains and asked to arrange them so as to represent what the d o l l sees. Piaget found children up to the age of eight or nine were not as a rule able to complete the task successfully. Instead they chose the picture or arranged the mountains to what they themselves saw. Piaget then attributed these r e s u l t s to young children's lack of a b i l i t y to see their own momentary viewpoint as one of a set of possible viewpoints, and to coordinate these views Into a single coherent system. He suggests that children do not appreciate or understand that what they see is r e l a t i v e to t h e i r own p o s i t i o n : instead they take i t to represent absolute truth or r e a l i t y , or the world as i t t r u l y i s . Unfortunately, t h i s task and other perceptual perspective taking tasks l i k e i t require cognitive s k i l l s and often expressive and receptive language s k i l l s far beyond the competence of children (aged 4 to 5), thus r e s u l t i n g in Inaccurate findings because the tasks are not measuring what they propose to measure. According to Donaldson (1978), there Is now powerful evidence ref u t i n g Piaget's r e s u l t s . Hughes, c i t e d in 24 Donaldson (1978), devised a much simpler task to test Piaget's claims, involving manipulation of d o l l s , with one d o l l being hidden from the other d o l l s view. His task is conceptually s i m i l a r to Piaget's and Inhelder's experiment, yet i t s procedure was much easier for young children to use. The res u l t s were dramatic. Thirty children between the ages of three-and-a-half and five years achieved a success rate of ninety percent, casting doubt upon the v a l i d i t y of Piaget's measure. In t r y i n g to reconcile Hughes' findings with Piaget's, Donaldson suggests that Hughes' task is e a s i l y grasped by the c h i l d because i t makes human sense with motives and intentions which capture children's attention because Hughes b u i l t In a narrative framework involving the intention to escape, pursue and capture, while Piaget's task is psychologically abstract. Hughes' task also required children to decide what would be seen, not how i t would appear, and i t requires children to decentre (go beyond only what they see or think) by not only trying to determine what another sees but also feels or thinks. Other perceptual perspective taking tasks have included variations of the 'Three Mountains' task, matching games such as Fishbeln, Lewis and K e i f f e r ' s (1972) Disney characters, F l a v e l l et a l . ' s (1968) hiding/guessing game. 25 and DeVries' (1970) s o c i a l guessing game. The problem with most tasks which are purported to measure perceptual perspective taking is that many of them also measure conceptual perspective taking at the same time. For example, DeVries' s o c i a l guessing game is a task which has two parts one measuring perceptual and the other measuring conceptual perspective taking. Therefore, i t is very hard to make conclusive statements in that perceptual perspective taking has not necessarily been independently investigated. QoQceEt ua 1 _Tasks j_ Conceptual perspective taking tasks evaluate the children's a b i l i t y to assess what another person knows or thinks about a p a r t i c u l a r s i t u a t i o n . Conceptual measures usually u t i l i z e one of three general paradigms, (1) communication behaviour, (2) game-playing or (3) story analysis (Kitano et a l . , 1978; Shantz, 1975). Communication tasks require children as the speaker to adapt t h e i r messages to the l i s t e n e r ' s needs, which are d i f f e r e n t from thei r s ( F l a v e l l et a l . ' s (1968) blind l i s t e n e r task). In the game-playing paradigm, the c h i l d t r i e s to anticipate another's strategy in order to successfully compete or cooperate with another person involved (e.g. 26 F l a v e l l et a l . ' s Nickel-dime task and DeVries' guessing game >. The t h i r d format for measuring conceptual perspective taking involves r e t e l l i n g of s t o r i e s . The majority of tasks provided a series of sequential pictures for the c h i l d to narrate a story from. One problem with both the communication and the story analysis measures is that young children are required to use complex language which is often well above t h e i r c a p a b i l i t i e s . No reported problems with game-playing. Aiieciiy.e_T§sk§i Affective measures of perspective taking assess children's a b i l i t y to determine another's emotional state, including both the other person's feelings and reasoning for those feelings. Such tasks usually require the c h i l d to predict the a f f e c t i v e state of a character in an emotionally charged s i t u a t i o n , which is presented eit h e r verbally or v i s u a l l y (Kurdek & Rodgon, 1975). Semantic, as well as methodological d i f f i c u l t i e s have characterized studies of young children's a f f e c t i v e perspective taking. The v a l i d assessment of t h i s a b i l i t y must ensure that the subject is concentrating on how the other is perceiving an event. This necessitates setting up 27 a highly structured task which is often subject to inaccurate findings. Current_Research_on_Per Marvin et a l . <1976) devised a guessing game which examined conceptual perspective taking (making an inference about another's state of knowledge) in young children. They looked at eighty middle-class children between the ages of 2.6 and 6.5 years. The measurement task was a game which consisted of three participants (mother, c h i l d and investigator) s i t t i n g in a c i r c l e with two toys in the middle of the c i r c l e . Each participant took a turn hiding t h e i r eyes while the other two decided upon one of the toys as t h e i r secret. The object of the game was to determine whether or not the c h i l d could infer who knew which toy was chosen by asking: 1) Does mommy know which toy was chosen? 2) Do you? and 3) Does the experimenter? The r e s u l t s of thi s study indicated that children as young as four years of age were able to d i f f e r e n t i a t e t h e i r own conceptual perspectives from those of others and to make inferences about the l i m i t a t i o n s in those perspectives. Their findings also indicated that perspective taking is a multidimensional ( d i f f e r e n t types of s k i l l s ) , s o c i a l -cognitive s k i l l , whose dimensions are multifaceted ( s k i l l s developing at d i f f e r e n t ages, requiring d i f f e r e n t p r e r e q u i s i t e s ) . The authors attributed t h e i r findings of 4 year olds having developed conceptual perspective taking s k i l l s to the s i m p l i c i t y of the task and the f a m i l i a r i t y of the se t t i n g (the c h i l d ' s own home). They suggest a f r u i t f u l area for future research would be to look into the many relationships between interaction within a group and the chi l d ' s conception of that group. Selman (1971) studied s i x t y middle-class children's conceptual and perceptual perspective taking a b i l i t i e s . He employed two tasks, a perspective taking task with two parts, using a three room model and three toys where the c h i l d must make and explain predictions about a peer's response in a s i t u a t i o n in which the c h i l d has information not available to the peer. He also used a simple hiding/guessing game developed by DeVries (1970) involving the c h i l d repeatedly choosing which hand the penny is in. The r e s u l t s of both tasks indicated that conceptual perspective taking is an age-related, social-cognitive s k i l l . As well, Selman found that four d i s t i n c t i v e age-related levels of perspective taking s k i l l s may be defined between the ages of four and s i x , with t h i s development by no means complete by s i x . The levels range from the c h i l d being unable to d i f f e r e n t i a t e between the perceptions of s e l f and other, up to the c h i l d being aware of d i f f e r e n t perceptions between s e l f and other. The r e s u l t s of the perceptual perspective taking task indicated that perceptual perspective taking is also an age-related s k i l l that precedes the development of conceptual perspective taking. Kurdek and Rodgon (1975) also looked at conceptual and perceptual perspective taking in children, but in contrast to the other studies they also looked at a f f e c t i v e perspective taking. The subjects were 167 kindergarten through sixth-grade children, so the children were also older. The three tasks used to measure the d i f f e r e n t perspective taking s k i l l s were: 1) a revolving tray pardigm to assess perceptual perspective taking ( c h i l d must turn tray u n t i l i t matches the other person's tray ) ; 2) F l a v e l l ' s changing story task to measure conceptual perspective taking; and 3) a picture 'show me' task to assess a f f e c t i v e perspective taking s k i l l s . The r e s u l t s revealed that conceptual perspective taking was mastered e a r l i e r than perceptual perspective taking and that a f f e c t i v e perspective taking was the least developed. As well, Kurdek and Rodgon provide support for the p o s i t i o n that perspective taking is a multidimensional social-cognItive s k i l l with three forms that appear in early 30 childhood (before kindergarten) and develop along a continuum at d i f f e r e n t rates. This is important in that i t a l e r t s researchers to the fact that i f perspective taking is to be examined, more than one of the s k i l l s needs to be investigated in order to get a true p r o f i l e of the chil d ' s a b i l i t y to take another person's perspective. The authors also suggest that i t might be b e n e f i c i a l in the selection of perspective taking tasks to choose tasks of equal complexity to accurately ascertain the order of development between the three perspective taking s k i l l s . Summary. As a group, the studies investigating the development of perspective taking have provided considerable support for the view that perspective taking s k i l l s appear in early childhood, around age 4, and not in l a t e r childhood (age 7-8) as Piaget had suggested (Kurdek,1977; Kurdek & Rodgon, 1975; Kusche & Greenberg, 1983; Marvin et a l . , 1976; Selman, 1971). The studies have also supported the notion that c h i l d r e n are able to decentre at an early stage, strengthening Vygotsky's claim that children are s o c i a l beings s t r i v i n g to communicate with others. They have also supported the idea that perspective taking s k i l l s are multidimensional and multifaceted. As well, the research 31 findings have i d e n t i f i e d a sequence for the a c q u i s i t i o n of perspective taking s k i l l s providing an immediate area for future research. Furthermore, the research provides a base for investigating d i f f e r e n t variables <i.e. language, cognition and perceptual discrimination) in r e l a t i o n s h i p to the development of s o c i a l cognition, and in p a r t i c u l a r perspective taking. These researchers have suggested that the a b i l i t y to take another person's perspective is essential to the development of e f f e c t i v e communication. Although the r e l a t i o n s h i p between perspective taking a b i l i t y and communicative competence is d i f f i c u l t to ascertain, i t is believed by many researchers that other variables such as language and mental representation must be examined In r e l a t i o n s h i p to perspective taking to determine communicative competence (Shantz, 1983; Shatz, 1983). In l i g h t of the variety of perspective taking measures and the variety of findings investigators must be careful to choose tasks which work on the premise of simple, e a s i l y distinguishable s t i m u l i . Minimizing the task demands and engaging the c h i l d is as r e a l i s t i c a s i t u a t i o n as possible would give young children the opportunity to demonstrate th e i r natural a b i l i t y to consider another person's perspective (Kurdek & Rodgon, 1975). Results of perspective taking studies must be evaluated with careful attention to type of perspective taking assessed, as well as conceptual and operational d e f i n i t i o n s employed. Recent research has started to investigate delays or disorders in the development of s o c i a l cognition, and, in p a r t i c u l a r , perspective taking s k i l l s , by looking into atypical cases such as deaf, a u t i s t i c and down syndrome children (Baron-Cohen et a l . , 1985; Kusche & Greenberg, 1983). These studies have reported that special needs children, in general, exhibit developmental delays in t h e i r perspective taking a b i l i t i e s . This delay is believed to contribute to inappropriate behaviours toward others, and a delay in the development of communicative competence and so c i a l s k i l l s , while being e s s e n t i a l l y unrelated to general inteeligence (Kitano et a l . , 1978). More s p e c i f i c a l l y , however, studies on a u t i s t i c children have reported disorders, not just delays, in the development of s o c i a l -cognitive s k i l l s . These disorders in the development of soc i a l - c o g n i t i v e s k i l l s appears to be attributable to a disorder in the a b i l i t y to construct higher order mental representations, which is a s k i l l that requires a c e r t a i n amount of language development for i t s development. It is the disorders in both these areas that are believed to be contributing factors (possibly with other confounding factors, such as a disorder in cognitive development, or l i t t l e experience in s o c i a l interactions s t a r t i n g very early on) to a u t i s t i c children's i n a b i l i t y to communicate e f f e c t i v e l y with others. Following Vygotsky's lead researchers have recently begun to investigate whether l i n g u i s t i c elements do influence, developmentlly, the growth of s o c i a l cognitive s k i l l s (Baron-Cohen et a l . , 1985; Kitano et a l . , 1978; Kusche & Greenberg, 1983). Recent studies have focused on comparing typ i c a l and atypical children in t h e i r perspective taking s k i l l s , and have suggested that language may play a role in the differences found between the two groups. Unfortunately, the studies have concentrated on deaf, a u t i s t i c and down syndrome children, a l l of whom have more than just language delays or disorders. Thus they have not been able to isolate language as a variable and investigate i t s r e l a t i o n s h i p to the development of perspective taking (Baron-Cohen et a l . , 1985; Kusche & Greenberg, 1983). However, what these three studies have done through t h e i r findings is show that these three groups who are delayed or disordered in t h e i r language also exhibit delays or disorders in t h e i r perspective taking s k i l l s when compared 34 to t h e i r normal peers. These findings then provide some support for future research into the role language development i t s e l f plays in the a c q u i s i t i o n of s o l i d perspective taking s k i l l s . Es.rsp.ect i ve_Taking_and_the_Exce^ Kusche and Greenberg (1983) evaluated the development of s ocial-cognitive knowledge and assessed the r e l a t i v e importance of language in two domains of s o c i a l cognition in deaf and hearing children. This investigation i n d i v i d u a l l y examined each c h i l d ' s a b i l i t y to take another person's perspective. The subjects were t h i r t y deaf and t h i r t y hearing children, ages 4,6, and 10 years of age, a l l reported to be functioning in the normal range of Intel 1igence. To examine the c h i l d ' s perception of good and bad, each c h i l d was shown multiple-choice pictures (one good, bad or neutral picture beside three neutral p i c t u r e s ) , given a description of each picture, and asked to "point to the picture of someone who is doing something very good (or very bad)". Conceptual perspective taking was evaluated through a hiding/guessing game. The r e s u l t s of the perception task indicated that deaf children at a l l three age levels evidence a developmental delay in the understanding of 'good and bad*. In the conceptual perspective taking task there appeared to be a developmental delay with the deaf children under 6 years of age ( s i g n i f i c a n t differences in hiding strategies: the deaf children perseverated and the hearing children alternated), with no s i g n i f i c a n t differences found in the older children. The authors suggested the reason for the delay in evaluative understanding by the deaf children was due to t h e i r early language deprivation during primary s o c i a l i z a t i o n . They observed that there was a two-to-three year delay in the i n i t i a l development of the deaf children's communication system. Also, the authors believed that t h e i r findings indicated that deaf children were able to take another person's perspective, except at the e a r l i e s t age, four years, when the i n i t i a l delay in t h e i r language development might have affected their development of perspective taking s k i l l s . They also suggested that although the older deaf children were able to take another's perspective they were unable to evaluate or interpret c o r r e c t l y the l i n g u i s t i c information conveyed by or available to the other person in the s p e c i f i c s o c i a l context. The authors reported that t h e i r r e s u l t s support the hypothesis that language is of varying importance in d i f f e r i n g domains of s o c i a l and personality development 36 because they controlled for l i n g u i s t i c competence between tasks. It would have been more b e n e f i c i a l in th i s study to have looked at more forms of perspective taking and then compared the differences between the groups and the tasks. In this way, a more complete picture of the role of language and i t s r e l a t i v e importance to the development of s o c i a l -cognitive s k i l l s could have been obtained. Baron-Cohen et a l . (1985), investigated a u t i s t i c children's a b i l i t y to represent mental states, by assessing t h e i r conceptual perspective taking s k i l l s in comparison to down syndrome and normal children. The authors believed that to be able to impute b e l i e f s to others and predict th e i r behaviour, children must have a basic metarepresentational capacity which is c a l l e d a 'theory of mind' (Astington, Harris & Olson, 1988). In th i s study they hypothesize that a u t i s t i c children lack such a theory. Before describing t h e i r study the authors f i r s t give an explanation of autism, which they use to es t a b l i s h a rationale for looking at an a u t i s t i c population for the purpose of investigating perspective taking. For t h e i r purposes the main symptom in childhood autism is the extreme impairment in verbal and nonverbal communication. This impairment is part of a profound disorder in understanding 3 7 and coping with the so c i a l environment, regardless of intel1igence. The subjects in the study consisted of a c l i n i c a l group of 20 r e l a t i v e l y high functioning (mean IQ 82) a u t i s t i c children, 14 down syndrome children (mean IQ 64) and 27 c l i n i c a l l y normal preschool children. The authors assessed the children using Wimmer and Perner's (1983) puppet play paradigm (consisting of two puppets and a hidden marble). To succeed in the task children must be aware that other people can have d i f f e r e n t conceptual perspectives (think something d i f f e r e n t ) from t h e i r own. The re s u l t s of the study indicated that the a u t i s t i c c hildren did not appreciate the difference between t h e i r own and another person's knowledge. The down syndrome children performed appropriately, revealing s o c i a l competency r e l a t i v e to the i r mental age, which was lower than the other two groups, suggesting developmental delays and co r r e l a t i o n a l significance between the development of so c i a l s k i l l s with mental age. As well, the normal children performed appropriately, which is in accordance with findings by Wimmer and Perner (1983) that children as young as 4 years of age appear to have developed a 'theory of mind'. 38 The authors believe that the f a i l u r e of the a u t i s t i c children to take another person's perspective indicates a s p e c i f i c d e f i c i t , possibly the i n a b i l i t y to form 'second-order representations* to represent mental states, which res u l t s in a f a i l u r e to develop a theory of mind. Since l i t t l e research has been done in thi s area much more is required to determine why a u t i s t i c children lack the a b i l i t y to form second order representations and f a l l to develop perspective taking s k i l l s . The r e s u l t s of the Baron-Cohen et a l . (1985) and the Kusche and Greenberg (1983) studies taken together indicate that many processes are involved in the development of so c i a l cognition in children. They point to a probable link between verbal and nonverbal language development and social-co g n i t i v e s k i l l development. Also, they suggest that delays or disorders in language may adversely a f f e c t the development of appropriate s o c i a l behaviours. Further research examining the re l a t i o n s h i p of language to the development of s o c i a l cognitive s k i l l s , s p e c i f i c a l l y perspective taking in special needs children is d e f i n i t e l y needed and strongly j u s t i f i e d . 3 9 The l i t e r a t u r e which has been reviewed in th i s chapter on the development of perspective taking appears to provide support for further investigation of the development of perspective taking s k i l l s in both normal and special needs children, s p e c i f i c a l l y examining the role of language in this development. However, None of the research examined actually used language as an independent variaqble, in order to indicate the role language was playing in the development of perspective taking. Without i s o l a t i n g language and s t r i c t l y comparing children with normal language development to children with delayed language development (try i n g to control for as many other variables as possible) and the i r perspective taking a b i l i t i e s can we get a cleare r picture of the role language might play in the development of these a b i l i t i e s . 40 CHAPTER THREE METHOD Design In order to ascertain the role of language in the development of perspective taking s k i l l s in young children, language w i l l be isolated as an independent variable. A variety of p o t e n t i a l l y confounding factors w i l l be held constant and then investigated in r e l a t i o n to two perspective taking s k i l l s . This w i l l be accomplished by comparing the perspective taking s k i l l s of a group of language delayed children, who are within normal range in th e i r cognitive development and whose language delay is not caused by a hearing loss, with a control group of children with normal language development. Both groups of children were administered two tasks which were chosen to test t h e i r conceptual and perceptual perspective taking a b i l i t i e s , as distinguished In the recent l i t e r a t u r e . The reason for examining both types of perspective taking a b i l i t i e s is that there appear to be differences in the a b i l i t i e s themselves, for example when and how the s k i l l s develop. Therefore, there may be differences in how language af f e c t s these s k i l l s . The tasks 41 have a l l been chosen for their s i m p l i c i t y , reported r e l i a b i l i t y , age appropriateness, and the fact that they b a s i c a l l y require nonverbal responses. Permission was f i r s t obtained from each of the two preschools involved to gather data from their four year old population. A proposal was then submitted to the University of B r i t i s h Columbia Ethics Committee for permission to proceed with the study. Once granted, the search for appropriate subjects began. Samgle The subjects consisted of ten language delayed children who exhibited both a receptive and an expressive delay in th e i r language development, with chronological ages ranging from 3:11 to 5:3 with the mean age of 4:5, and ten children with normal language development with chronological ages ranging from 4:1 to 4:11, with a mean age of 4:2. Children were included in the sample only i f they were considered by the i r teachers (as well as the speech therapist for the language delayed group) to be functioning within the normal range of intelligence (within one standard deviation below the mean). The two groups of children were selected from 42 two preschools in Vancouver. The language delayed group were drawn from a preschool which sp e c i a l i z e s in working with children with language delays, while the control group was selected from an integrated preschool (a program which has both typical and atypical children together in each cl a s s ) which had a s i m i l a r program (play based). Both preschools have small class sizes (approximately 10 to 12 chil d r e n ) , with the language delayed preschool having two teachers per classroom and the integrated program also had two teachers (and sometimes an additional c h i l d care worker). Staff personnel included in both preschools were a program coordinator, trained ECE Special Needs Teachers, and for the language delayed preschool a Speech Language Pathologi s t . The language delayed children were chosen by the speech therapist according to age ( i n the 4 year age range with a mean age of 4:5), amount of time in preschool (at least one year), absence of physical or emotional reasons for their language delays, and normal cognitive functioning. Both th e i r teachers and the speech therapist f e l t they were functioning within the "normal range" of intelligence (from standardized testing which had been done by the speech therapist and observations in the classroom). As well, the level of each c h i l d ' s language development was used in order to define a group of children who exhibited similar receptive and expressive delays (approximately 8 months to 1 year delay in expressive development and 6 months delay in receptive development), which was determined by standardized testing ( i . e . Preschool Language Scale, T.E.L.D. et cetera) and where english was t h e i r f i r s t language. Once a l l the c r i t e r i a had been met there were ten children whose parents were approached for consent for t h e i r c h i l d to be a part of the study. The children for the control group were then chosen according to the i r age, socio-economic status (both groups were from modest income families l i v i n g in the same areas of the c i t y ) , length of time in the preschool (both groups had attended preschool for at least 1 year), children were from mixed ethnic backgrounds but in a l l cases English was the primary language spoken at home to the children. As well, a l l the members of the control group were believed to be within the "normal range" of i n t e l l i g e n c e . It was not possible to put an equal number of boys and g i r l s in each group because there were more boys who f i t the c r i t e r i a for the language delayed group and more g i r l s in the control group who f i t the c r i t e r i a . However, no d i f f i c u l t i e s were anticipated with this as there are no sex differences reported in the l i t e r a t u r e for the conceptual 44 tasks and only one sex difference (Kurdek & Rodgon, 1975) in the perceptual tasks, in which males were s i g n i f i c a n t l y better perceptual perspective takers than females. Procedure A l l subjects were seen twice by the investigator in thei r school s e t t i n g . The f i r s t session consisted of getting acquainted with the children in t h e i r own environment, while the second session consisted of the administration of the tasks. This session involved finding a quiet corner just outside of the classroom, where the c h i l d and the investigator sat on the fl o o r facing each other and played two games which were used to assess the ch i l d ' s perceptual and conceptual perspective taking s k i l l s . The two tasks together took approximately 10 minutes to complete. The investigator approached the children i n d i v i d u a l l y and asked them i f they would l i k e to play some games with the investigator. When the children agreed, they were in d i v i d u a l l y taken just outside the classroom door and shown the conceptual task f i r s t followed by the perceptual task. Each task was explained in d e t a i l (using both verbal and visual cues) with some feedback (either verbal or manipulation of the items) being required from the c h i l d 45 before the actual task was administered. This was to ensure that each c h i l d had a f u l l understanding of the directions to each task. This minimized the r i s k that the results could be attributable to a lack of comprehension regarding the task requirements. A l l responses by the c h i l d were then recorded on paper at the time of observation and analyzed a f t e r the assessment of both groups was completed. Mea§u.r.§§ Q°££§.Etiial_Task The conceptual task is one which was designed by Wimmer and Perner (1983), adapted and used by Cohen et a l . (1985) in t h e i r study of a u t i s t i c children. Cohen et a l . view the task as being an "ingenious and simple paradigm" that can be used with very young children to determine t h e i r conceptual perspective taking a b i l i t y . In order to succeed on the task the c h i l d has to be aware that d i f f e r e n t people can have d i f f e r e n t b e l i e f s about a s i t u a t i o n . This task does not require verbal responses, instead gestural responses ( i . e . pointing) may be used to answer the questions. The task requires the c h i l d to be s i t t i n g d i r e c t l y across from the investigator, facing a basket on his or her l e f t side and a box on his or her right side. In front of the basket is the bear and in front of the box is the dog (two stuffed animals). Prior to the f i r s t t r i a l , the investigator i d e n t i f i e d each stuffed toy to the c h i l d and had them name each of them, and then asked the c h i l d to name each animal again (naming question). For the f i r s t t r i a l , the bear placed a marble into her basket and then l e f t the scene. The marble was then removed from the basket by the dog (marble placed by the investigator into the dog's mouth) and moved into the box. Then, when the bear returned the experimenter asked the c h i l d the c r i t i c a l b e l i e f question "point to where the bear w i l l look for the marble;" If the c h i l d points to the previous location of the marble, then they pass the b e l i e f question by appreciating the bear's now false b e l i e f . If however, they point to the marble's current location, then they f a i l the question by not taking account the d o l l ' s b e l i e f . These conclusions are warranted i f two control items are answered c o r r e c t l y : "Point to where the marble is now" ( r e a l i t y question) and "Point to where the marble was f i r s t " (memory question). The responses for a l l three questions were recorded immediately. According to Baron-Cohen et a l . (1985) the control questions should be included to ensure that the c h i l d has both knowledge of the real current location of the object and an accurate memory of the previous location. There is 47 no reason to believe that the three questions d i f f e r from each other in terms of t h e i r psycholinguistic complexity, but Baron-Cohen et a l . do hypothesize that they d i f f e r in terms of conceptual complexity, which may be important to think of in terms of analyzing the results of the language delayed group's responses. In the second t r i a l , the standard scenario is repeated u t i l i z i n g an additional location, a pocket, for the marble so that now there are three locations that the c h i l d may point at the basket, box or pocket. Adding this t h i r d location adds a l i t t l e complexity to the task, with the marble s t a r t i n g in the pocket and then being moved to either the basket or the box, requiring the c h i l d to choose from three locations, marble, pocket or basket. Thus, the added complexity reduces the r i s k that the r e s u l t s are due to chance and provides stronger evidence that the c h i l d r e a l l y does or does not understand that other people have d i f f e r e n t perspectives from t h e i r own. In summary, the task consisted of two t r i a l s with three questions per t r i a l : T r i a l 1 - marble from basket to box; and t r i a l 2 - marble from pocket to box or basket. No feedback was provided to the c h i l d during either t r i a l . Responses to a l l the questions were recorded 48 immediately by the experimenter. Correct responses to each question were given one point with a to t a l out of six points (three per t r i a l ) for answering a l l the questions c o r r e c t l y . E§£££EJ:Ual _Task The perceptual task which was used was a matching task o r i g i n a l l y designed by Fishbein, Lewis and K e i f f e r (1972) (Disney characters), and modified somewhat by Kurdek and Rodgon (1975). The task is simple, age appropriate and requires nonverbal responses (manipulation of the board). The task is designed to measure the c h i l d ' s a b i l i t y to assume another's perceptual viewpoint, that i s , to identify what another person is seeing, when that aspect of the display d i f f e r s from what the subject sees. The task began with a practice session where the c h i l d sat next to the investigator on the f l o o r . He or she was shown two c i r c u l a r revolving trays on which were glued three b r i g h t l y coloured animals (a duck,a dog and a b i r d ) , and tol d that both trays were exactly the "same". The c h i l d was then asked to turn the tray in front of him/her so that i t looked the same as the other tray (giving the c h i l d a practice session, and enabling the experimenter to determine i f the c h i l d had a developed a concept of sameness). The investigator then moved the c h i l d so that he/she was 49 d i r e c t l y across from the experimenter with both having a tray d i r e c t l y in front of them. The investigator then turned her own tray so that the duck was d i r e c t l y facing her. The c h i l d was then instructed to "Turn your tray so that you see the duck, the dog and the bir d the same way I see them." Following the c h i l d ' s response the experimenter then moved her tray 90, 270 and 180 degrees from the i n i t i a l p o s i t i on. After each rotation, the experimenter repeated the instructions. To guard against the c h i l d ' s getting a correct response on the basis of c a l c u l a t i n g the degree on tray movement alone, the ch i l d ' s tray was i n i t i a l l y placed midway between the 180-and 270 degree tray rotations and the experimenter always turned her tray with both clockwise and counterclockwise movements. No feedback was provided at any time during the task. Sco.ciQgx The c h i l d was given one point for each time he or she co r r e c t l y r e p l i c a t e s the experimenter's p a r t i c u l a r perceptual viewpoint. Since there are four viewpoints or rotations of the tray, scores range from 0 to 4 with a score of 4 indicating f u l l y accurate perceptual perspective taking s k i l l s . 50 dXQ°theses 1) The language delayed group w i l l do s i g n i f i c a n t l y worse than the normal langauge group on the conceptual perspective taking task. 2) There w i l l be l i t t l e difference between the two groups in the i r a b i l i t y to perform the perceptual perspective taking task. Ana 1 y_sis_o f _the _Da ta The n u l l hypothesis was tested by exposing the means of each group on each task to a test of s t a t i s t i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e , the £-test, in order to determine whether the nul l hypothesis could be rejected. Hypothesis 1 was tested by comparing the means for each group on the conceptual perspective taking task ( t o t a l task means, and t r i a l I and t r i a l II means were also compared) with the significance level set at r><.05, to determine i f there was a s i g n i f i c a n t difference between the two groups. Also provided in chapter four are descriptive analysis of the r e s u l t s of the groups on each question. Hypothesis 2 was tested by comparing the means of the two groups on the perspective taking task by use of a t-test with the significance level set at Q<.05. 51 CHAPTER FOUR RESULTS The purpose of this study was to determine the role and r e l a t i v e importance of language in the development of conceptual and perceptual perspective taking s k i l l s . In order to investigate t h i s question two tasks were taken from the l i t e r a t u r e , a conceptual and perceptual perspective taking task which were administered to two groups of chil d r e n . The participant groups in the study included ten language delayed children aged four years and ten four year old children with normal language development from two simi l a r preschools. In t h i s chapter the data from the overall group re s u l t s for each task are presented, interpretations of results given, tables provided with the mean scores per task and lim i t a t i o n s of the study addressed. C^QQe.Btual_Task atatis£.isai_ariaiz£i§. To determine whether or not the nu l l hypothesis could be rejected a test of s t a t i s t i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e , in this case the £-test for correlated means (Borg & G a l l , 1983) was used because of the s n a i l sample size and small d i s t r i b u t i o n of scores, and the fact that the groups were sim i l a r except for thei r language development. Three t-tests were done to test differences between group means on t r i a l I (maximum score=3>, t r i a l II (max. score=3> and the t r i a l s combined (max. score=6). Table 1 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ___________ QUESTION NLG LDG T r i a l I 1 .6 .4 2 1.0 .9 3 .8 .7 COMBINED TOTAL 2.4 2.0 T r i a l II 1 .7 .3 2 1.0 .9 3 1.0 .5 COMBINED TOTAL 2.7 1.7 * COMBINED TOTAL I+11 5.1 3.7 * (*B<-05) For the combined t o t a l t r i a l I and II conceptual task score the normal language group (NLG) scored s i g n i f i c a n t l y higher than the language delayed group (LDG) (f=1.06, t=-2.47, 2-tailed p.= .024; (significance set at E<.051). This indicates that the NLG were able to perform the f u l l task s i g n i f i c a n t l y better than the LOG. A l l the language delayed children who f a i l e d the b e l i e f question pointed to where the marble r e a l l y was rather than to any of the other possible 1ocat i ons. To investigate further what made up the to t a l mean differences, group means were examined separately for t r i a l I and t r i a l I I . Means for t r i a l I were not s i g n i f i c a n t l y d i f f e r e n t between the two groups (see table 1) (f=1.60, £=-1.18, 2-tailed p_=.255), although there were differences in how LDG answered the three questions (see descriptive analysis and Table 2). The differences emerged in the means for each group on T r i a l II, with the NLG performing s i g n i f i c a n t l y better on the task than the LDG (f=1.95, £=-3.81, 2-tailed B=-001). Q<LScr j^t^ve_Ana 1 x§ i s After completing the s t a t i s t i c a l analysis i t appeared important to look at a breakdown by item and by group to determine whether or not there were differences on how many correct responses there were per group on each individual question. This gave us a better idea of what questions presented d i f f i c u l t i e s , so that these differences could be addressed in the conclusions. 54 A l l subjects passed the naming question (named the stuffed toys) without exception. For the r e a l i t y question ("Point to where the marble is now") 9 out of 10 children with language delays answered the question c o r r e c t l y with the same c h i l d answering i t incorrectly for both t r i a l s . However th i s same c h i l d answered the b e l i e f question c o r r e c t l y on both t r i a l s , while a l l 10 of the NLG answered the question c o r r e c t l y on both t r i a l s . Table 2 Re srjonses_on_I ndlyidu TRIAL" TOTAL TRIAL"?? TOTAL TRIAL~T+lT GROUP 1 2 3 3/3 I 2 3 3/3 6/6 NLG 6 10 8 6 7 10 10 7 6 LDG 4 9 7 3 3 9 5 1 1 The memory question was answered c o r r e c t l y by 7 out of the 10 LDG on the f i r s t t r i a l and 5 out of 10 children on the second t r i a l (gave the present location even though they appeared to know there was a past lo c a t i o n ) , with two of the children who got the answer incorrect answering the b e l i e f question c o r r e c t l y . Conversely, 8 out of 10 childr e n from the NLG answered the memory question c o r r e c t l y in the f i r s t 55 t r i a l and 10 out of 10 in the second t r i a l . The b e l i e f question was answered c o r r e c t l y by 4 out of 10 LOG on the f i r s t t r i a l and 3 out of 10 on the second t r i a l . More children in the NLG did better on this question with 6 out of 10 answering c o r r e c t l y on t r i a l one and 7 out of 10 answering on t r i a l two. _i_cuss_on If the n u l l hypothesis was correct, we would expect to find no differences between the two groups of children. Since we did find a s i g n i f i c a n t difference between the groups on t r i a l II and the combined t r i a l I and t r i a l II t o t a l , i t is probable that the n u l l hypothesis is f a l s e . Therefore, we w i l l reject the n u l l hypothesis and conclude that the difference found between the group means r e f l e c t s a true difference between groups in this sample population. The r e s u l t s of the £-tests suggest that there is a s i g n i f i c a n t difference between the two groups on t h e i r a b i l i t y to perform the conceptual task, and judging from the descriptive analysis, the b e l i e f question in p a r t i c u l a r (13 NLG versus 7 LDG correct responses on the two b e l i e f questions). The LDG had trouble answering the b e l i e f question in both t r i a l one and t r i a l two. In t r i a l one the majority of the c h i l d r e n in the LDG could answer the two 56 control questions but could not answer the b e l i e f question. In t r i a l two, the majority of the group could answer the r e a l i t y question, only five could answer the memory question and only three could answer the b e l i e f question. This d i f f i c u l t y in answering the memory question in t r i a l two may have been due to the fact that there were three hiding places to chose from in t r i a l II, as opposed to t r i a l I with only two hiding places. Another explanation for this difference may be that these children were getting confused by the added complexity of the t h i r d hiding place on top of a poor understanding of verb tense, or what was r e a l l y being asked of them. It probably is not the case that this was a f f e c t i n g t h e i r a b i l i t y to answer the b e l i e f question because of t h e i r a b i l i t y to answer the two control questions in the f i r s t t r i a l coupled with th e i r i n a b i l i t y to answer the b e l i e f question pretty well equally in both t r i a l s ( i . e . less in t r i a l I I ) . Conversely, the NLG was able to answer a l l three questions consistently over the two t r i a l s , doing s l i g h t l y better on the second t r i a l with the b e l i e f and memory questions. This indicates that the adding of one extra hiding place to the task presented no problems for the NLG, in fact accuracy was higher in t r i a l I I . 57 E _ _ S _ E _ l i _ l _ l _ _ _ S t a t i s t i c ^ l _ A Q a i x s i s The analysis of the perceptual perspective taking task was f a i r l y straightforward in that only one t-test was required to test for s i g n i f i c a n t differences between mean scores for the two groups studied (see Table 2). The results of the t-test indicated that there was no si g n i f i c a n t difference between the two groups on the perceptual perspective taking task, where 0 indicated no perceptual perspective taking a b i l i t y and 4 indicated accurate perceptual perspective taking a b i l i t i e s (see means table 3) (f=1.38, t=1.46, 2-tailed p=.650, with significance g<.05). Further analysis of the raw scores indicated that the d i s t r i b u t i o n of the scores on the task of the two groups showed no substantial differences between the two groups. Table 3 _ £ - S - B--iI-I§ - - _ _ e . 3 Q§-ii - l Q-§£._Q - - i - - i S Q § 2 GROUP MEANS SD NLG 2.3 (1.567) LDG 2.0 (1.333) * B <.05 Ngtej. The 2-tailed B=« 650« 58 _ i _ _ _ _ § i 2 _ There were no s i g n i f i c a n t differences found between the two groups on the perceptual perspective taking task, with both groups responding c o r r e c t l y approximately 50% of the time (mean score NLG=2.3, LDG=2.0). The results may be attributable to the fact that perceptual perspective taking is not so much a cognitive or a language based task (although these factors may have some influence) as i t is a visual s p a t i a l task, thus giving both groups an equal chance to answer c o r r e c t l y . Given that the only area in which the two groups d i f f e r is their language a b i l i t y , the r e s u l t s suggest that language plays a much less s i g n i f i c a n t role in the development of social-cognitive s k i l l s which require visual perception, such as perceptual perspective taking s k i l l s . Summary This study indicates that the LDG performed more poorly on the conceptual perspective taking task than the NLG but approximately equally as well as the NLG on the perceptual perspective taking task. It appears that the NLG have developed accurate conceptual perspective taking s k i l l s while the LDG have not, and that both groups have equally wel1-developed perceptual perspective taking s k i l l s . These r e s u l t s indicate that these two perspective taking s k i l l s may develop separately, and at d i f f e r e n t stages. It appears that conceptual perspective taking emerges f i r s t i f a l l prerequisites are met, such as the appropriate level of language development, around the age of 4. While perceptual perspective taking s k i l l s begin to emerge around age four but as yet are not accurately acquired. These same results are found in the l i t e r a t u r e (e.g. Marvin et a l . , 1976). The r e s u l t s also suggest that language does not play a major role in the development of perspective taking s k i l l s as a whole but rather in s p e c i f i c types of perspective taking, such as conceptual perspective taking which appears to require an appropriate level of cognitive (Baron-Cohen et a l . , 1985) and language development in order to develop. They suggest that perceptual perspective taking and conceptual perspective taking s k i l l s are somewhat d i f f e r e n t types of s k i l l s requiring d i f f e r e n t prerequisites. Perceptual perspective taking is a v i s u a l l y oriented s k i l l which requires the development of visual perception s k i l l s and does not require the same level of language development as the conceptual perspective taking s k i l l s . However, conceptual perspective taking is a cognitive s k i l l which appears to require a c e r t a i n amount of language development before the s k i l l is acquired. This then may provide some support for Vygotskian theory which suggests that there is a re l a t i o n s h i p between the development of thought, language and so c i a l s k i l l s . 61 CHAPTER FIVE SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS Sum»ary._2 f _Exge r_merit This experiment was undertaken in order to investigate the role of language in the development of perspective taking s k i l l s in young children. Previous research has suggested that the a c q u i s i t i o n of perspective taking s k i l l s , e s p e c i a l l y conceptual perspective taking is important to the development of e f f e c t i v e communication and so c i a l interact ion. F l a v e l l (1985) has gone further to suggest that i t may be through s o c i a l interaction and the c h i l d ' s developing concepts about cognition that he or she begin to acquire the a b i l i t y to restructure and develop the cognitive performance necessary for i n t e l l e c t u a l and soc i a l l i f e . He suggests that i t is knowledge about the appearance-reality d i s t i n c t i o n (of which perspective taking is thought to be a prerequisite s k i l l ) which is important in that i t shows our more general knowledge that an object or event can be "represented" in d i f f e r e n t ways by the same person and by di f f e r e n t people. He then goes on to suggest that both the appearance-reality d i s t i n c t i o n and perspective taking s k i l l s are then areas worth studying because they appear to be necessary components (Cohen et a l . , 1985) of the larger development of our conscious knowledge about our own and other minds ( i . e . metacognition) (We 11 man, 1985) and of soc i a l cognition (Shantz, 1983). From th i s research by F l a v e l l (1985) and others (Cohen et a l . , 1985) we know that perspective taking s k i l l s may be necessary for the development of higher level s k i l l s such as the appearance-reality d i s t i n c t i o n and further for the .development of metacognition. However, one of the things we do not know is what s k i l l s may be necessary for the development of perspective taking. Theory, research and observation into the development of perspective taking s k i l l s in young children supports the view that there are several complex processes involved. Recently researchers have suggested that language may play a role in the development of perspective taking s k i l l s (Shantz, 1983; Shatz, 1983). This is not an e n t i r e l y new idea as Vygotsky (1962) postulated that a delay in language development might cause s o c i a l i s o l a t i o n , which in turn would delay the ch i l d ' s a b i l i t y to turn t h e i r thoughts to others. He believed that there was a strong interactive component between the development of language, thought and s o c i a l s k i l l s , suggesting that delays in one s k i l l area may play a part in the delays of another s k i l l area. Unfortunately while many researchers have begun to study the development of perspective taking in young children they have not r e a l l y begun to look exclusively at what role language may be playing in the development of these s k i l l s . The purpose of this experiment, was thus, to provide empirical research on the role of language in the development of these s k i l l s . The experiment was designed with one independent variable and 2 dependent variables. The independent variable in th i s experiment was language development, and the dependent variables involved two perspective taking tasks. S t a t i s t i c a l analyses, consisting of t-tests evaluated the significance of the r e s u l t s . The results shed some l i g h t on the role of language in the development of the perspective taking s k i l l s . Language was isolated as the independent variable in order to determine i t s role in the development of perspective taking s k i l l s . By choosing two s i m i l a r groups of four year old children whose only major difference was t h e i r language development (one normal, one delayed), we were able to isolate language as a variable. Both groups of children were administered two perspective taking tasks, one 64 a conceptual task and the other a p e r c e p t u a l task. The tasks were admi n i s t e r e d to each c h i l d i n d i v i d u a l l y by the r e s e a r c h e r , the answers to each p a r t of the task being recorded immediately. Tests of s i g n i f i c a n c e , t - t e s t s , were then administered to the mean scores f o r each task, a l l o w i n g the r e s e a r c h e r to accept or r e j e c t the experiment's n u l l hypotheses. If the n u l l hypotheses were r e j e c t e d , then l e v e l of language development would be c o n s i d e r e d a necessary component to the development of conceptual and p e r c e p t u a l p e r s p e c t i v e t a k i n g sk i1 I s . ^ nswers_to_Research_Questions There were two r e s e a r c h q u e s t i o n s , with two p a r t s each being addressed by t h i s study. They were: 1 a) Does the l e v e l of language competence p l a y a r o l e in the s u c c e s s f u l development of conceptual p e r s p e c t i v e tak ing? Since the two groups were s i m i l a r except f o r t h e i r l e v e l of language development the r e s u l t s suggest that the LDG has not yet reached the l e v e l of language development r e q u i r e d to have a c q u i r e d conceptual p e r s p e c t i v e t a k i n g s k i l l s . On the other hand the NLG has a c q u i r e d the l e v e l of language s k i l l s needed to have developed conceptual 65 perspective taking s k i l l s well enough to have completed this task successfully. Therefore, the overall r e s u l t s appear to suggest that language is playing an important role in the development of conceptual perspective taking s k i l l s . b) Does the level of language competence play a role in the successful development of perceptual perspective taking? The data gathered from the two groups revealed that there was no s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c between the two groups, with both groups responding c o r r e c t l y approximately 50% of the time. Since the n u l l hypothesis could not be rejected, we conclude that language does not play a major role in the development of perceptual perspective taking. 2 a) How do children with normal language development compare to children with delayed language development in th e i r development of conceptual perspective taking? The r e s u l t s of t-tests comparing the two groups revealed that the LDG did s i g n i f i c a n t l y worse than the NLG on t r i a l II, and on the combined t r i a l I+11 t o t a l s of the conceptual task. On further analysis we found that the NLG did better on every question compared to the LDG, indicating that the NLG had superior language s k i l l s and conceptual perspective s k i l l s to the LDG. 66 b) How do children with normal language development compare to children with delayed language in t h e i r development of perceptual perspective taking? The r e s u l t s of t-tests comparing the two groups revealed that the DLG and the NLG performed equally as well on the perceptual perspective taking task (correct responses approximately 50% of the time), therefore there were no s i g n i f i c a n t differences found between the two groups so the n u l l hypothesis could not be rejected. These re s u l t s then suggest that language is not playing a major role in the development of perceptual perspective taking. _______i _ _ _ _ 2____!i_X 1) Because the sample size is small i t is very d i f f i c u l t to generalize the r e s u l t s found in this study to the general population. 2) The conceptual task should have included three or more t r i a l s , with at least two of the t r i a l s involving three hiding places to get a better sense of how the LDG would do over time with the added d i f f i c u l t y . 3) Two tasks should have been used to assess each type of perspective taking in order to lessen the l i k e l i h o o d of intervening e f f e c t s of the task. 67 4) T h i s was an e x p l o r a t o r y task used to i s o l a t e out one of s e v e r a l p o t e n t i a l l y c o n t r i b u t i n g f a c t o r s to the development of conceptual and p e r c e p t u a l p e r s p e c t i v e t a k i n g . I t might have given us a more complete p i c t u r e of the development of these m u l t i f a c e t e d s k i l l s i f a m u l t i v a r i a t e study had been done l o o k i n g at a l l the p o s s i b l e c o n t r i b u t i n g f a c t o r s , determing what r o l e each p l a y s i n the development of these s k i l l s . ^£ri££§I-5i§2!!SSiSri.§ri^-E^!2S§£iSri§I-ISBii23£iSQ§ The purpose of t h i s experiment was to provide e m p i r i c a l r e s e a r c h s u p p o r t i n g Vygotsky's c l a i m that there i s an i n t e r a c t i o n between the development of language s k i l l s and the development of s o c i a l c o g n i t i o n . The r e s u l t s of the experiment i n d i c a t e that language does p l a y an important r o l e in the development of conceptual p e r s p e c t i v e t a k i n g s k i l l s , but a p p a r e n t l y not i n p e r c e p t u a l p e r s p e c t i v e t a k i n g s k i l l s . What t h i s then t e l l s us i s that p e r s p e c t i v e t a k i n g i t s e l f i s m u l t i f a c e t e d . That while one p e r s p e c t i v e t a k i n g s k i l l r e q u i r e s one l e v e l of language development in order to be a c q u i r e d the other does not. F u r t h e r , that n e i t h e r group (NLG, LDG) have a c q u i r e d the language s k i l l s necessary to be completely s u c c e s s f u l on the p e r c e p t u a l p e r s p e c t i v e t a k i n g t a s k . 68 We can go further and say that the results support Vygotsky *s view that there is an interactional relationship between the development of language and so c i a l cognition, and that the interaction varies according to the s k i l l s involved. For example, in the development of conceptual perspective taking, which is viewed here as a more cognitive s k i l l the level of language development appears to play a very important r o l e . In the development of perceptual perspective taking, which is viewed here as a more v i s u a l -s p a t i a l task, language development appears to be playing a minor r o l e . One possible reason for the rel a t i o n s h i p found between the development of language and conceptual perspective taking s k i l l s may be that conceptual perspective taking is a cognitive task, which appears to require not only a minimum threshold of language development but also a minimum threshold of cognitive development, as seen in previous research (Baron-Cohen et a l . , 1985). This then supports the view that there is an interactive r e l a t i o n s h i p between the development of language, thought and so c i a l cognition. An alternative explanation for the re s u l t s may be although the LDG are within the "normal range" for intelligence they may be at the lower end of the normal scale, and may not have developed as well as the NLG ce r t a i n 69 cognitive s k i l l s . Therefore, i t may be a combination of cognitive differences interacting with t h e i r language differences which have lead to t h e i r i n a b i l i t y to succeed on the conceptual task. Another explanation for the r e s u l t s may be that because of the language delay the LDG have not had the same experiences in s o c i a l situations as the NLG which may be important for stimulating the development of conceptual perspective taking s k i l l s . However, these explanations s t i l l suggest language is playing an important role in the development of these s k i l l s , i t is just saying that we cannot, given the nature of the s k i l l s rule out that these factors are not playing a role along with language in the i n a b i l i t y of the LDG to do the conceptual perspective taking task successfully. One reason language is playing a minor role in the development of perceptual perspective taking may be that perceptual perspective taking is a more v i s u a l - s p a t i a l task requiring the processing of visual cues, which may not require a level of language development more sophisticated than the s k i l l level reached by the delayed language group. A second explanation may be that children with language delays are usually taught with lots of visual cueing by t h e i r teachers in order to enhance the i r auditory learning, giving them a comparable a b i l i t y in the perceptual 7 0 perspective taking task. What thi s research then provides is support for the view that there is an interactive r e l a t i o n s h i p between the development of language and conceptual perspective taking s k i l l s . We have seen that i f there is a delay in one area such as language, then there w i l l be a performance d i f f i c u l t y in the conceptual perspective taking task. We could speculate further that t h i s delay could also contribute to problems in other related areas ( i . e . symbolic play s k i l l s , appearance-reality d i s t i n c t i o n , et cetera.). In more s p e c i f i c terms this means that i f there is a delay in the development of language s k i l l s , then we w i l l need to look at the c h i l d ' s social-cognitive development as well, and set up an intervention program which stimulates development of language and so c i a l cognition naturally through experience in d i f f e r e n t situations and with t h e i r peer groups. As well, we should concentrate on setting up play situations which w i l l help the c h i l d communicate e f f e c t i v e l y with others, learning s o c i a l s k i l l s , such as perspective taking which he/she w i l l need as a prerequisite s k i l l to learn symbolic play and l a t e r on reading and wr i t i ng. 71 Many p o s s i b i t i e s for further research evolve from this study. 1) More research should be done c o l l e c t i n g s i m i l a r data, using more students for each group, and more t r i a l s on the cognitive task. More data may provide stronger results and more of an a b i l i t y to generalize to the general populat ion. 2) Data could also be c o l l e c t e d on a wider range of sim i l a r tasks, to insure the findings are not results of the tasks. 3) The perceptual task should be given to older groups to see i f there are any differences in the a c q u i s i t i o n of perceptual perspective taking between the two groups. 4) Research could be done comparing not only the LDG and NLG on the perspective taking tasks, but also on th e i r a b i l i t y to interact e f f e c t i v e l y with others. This would then give us an idea of how delays in language and perspective taking a f f e c t s s o c i a l interaction. 5) A multivariate study should be done to look at other c r i t i c a l factors which may be involved (cognitive development, s o c i a l experience, et cetera) along with the level of language development in the development of conceptual perspective taking. 72 6) Another line of study would involve comparing these two groups on the perspective taking tasks, and then looking at their symbolic play a b i l i t y . These observations might provide us with more insight into perspective taking as prerequisite s k i l l s for symbolic play. This w i l l give us s p e c i f i c intervention goals by encouraging us to incorporate language goals into structured, play situations which involve pretend play with objects and then role playing. 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