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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The development of representational change from three to five years of age in two domains of knowledge Penner, David Edward


This study investigated the development of children's understanding of representational change when presented with natural kind and human artifact stimuli. Fifteen three-year-old, 21 four-year-old and 19 five-year-old children were shown four natural kind and four human artifact picture pairs. The initial drawing of each was constructed to suggest the object of interest. Following a story, each child was then shown the second drawing, which showed the true nature of the object. The picture pairs were then put away and the child asked what she had thought the first picture of the pair to be. Following the collection of the representational change data, children were interviewed to gather data on whether or not they distinguished between two domains: natural kinds and human artifacts. Analysis of the representational change data revealed a significant main effect for age. Post-hoc analysis pointed to a significant difference between the ages of three and four, three and five, but not four and five. No other results were significant. On the domain question significant effects were noted for domain and for age. Post-hoc analysis for domain revealed that children answered the domain question correctly more often for natural kinds than for human artifacts. The post-hoc analysis for age showed significant differences between three and four, three and five, but not between four and five. The results suggest that four and five-year-olds perform significantly better than three-year-olds on representational change tasks, regardless of domain. However, there is evidence that at least four and five-year-olds do have some knowledge of human artifacts and natural kinds, though this knowledge is of little value in the successful completion of the representational change tasks.

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