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Developmental changes in the use of facial expression as a basis of classification Grunau, Ruth

Abstract

Ninety-six children aged 4 to 9 years performed a classificatory task using simple line drawings of human figures. It was predicted that the youngest children would group the pictures according to overall body shape, with an increasing tendency with age for classification based on facial expression. This prediction was based on previous studies which find young children unable to analyze and "filter" information in a stimulus array in such a way as to utilize component parts. The results supported the prediction in general, the major exception being 5 year old girls, who classified the pictures mainly according to facial expression. Flexibility in performance increased with age. Suggestions were made for further research on the basis of the findings.

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