ERIC Number: ED148476
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977-Mar
Understanding an Actor's Behaviors: Developmental Differences in Plan Interpretations.
Sedlak, Andrea J.
This paper presents a study of age differences in children's plan interpretations, interpretations of the interrelationship between actions, goals and outcomes. It is suggested that developmental differences exist which affect children's ability to recognize the necessity for internal and external consistency before labeling behaviors as goal-directed. For purposes of this paper, internal consistency is used to refer to the recognition of a coordinated set of beliefs, knowledge, expectations and other characteristics of an actor which could affect his behavior. External consistency implies that none of the actor's behaviors contradict the characteristics attributed to the actor. In order to study age differences in children's comprehension and use of this information in interpreting an actor's plans, twelve stories representing three story types were presented to 8- and 11-year-old children and to adults. The story types included stories in which an outcome was related to an actor's goal or was a foreseeable or unforseeable side effect. Results suggest that 8-year-old children were unable to differentiate goal-related outcomes from side effects. Results also suggest that children in both age groups failed to consider adequately questions of internal consistency in their plan interpretations. They also failed to consider information which was contradictory to their interpretation. Adult answer patterns were internally and externally consistent. The paper suggests that this type of research can provide a framework for studying children's comprehension of television programs. (BD)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (New Orleans, Louisiana, March 17-20, 1977)