ERIC Number: ED574468
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Abstractor: As Provided
Children Adopt the Traits of Characters in a Narrative
Dore, Rebecca A.; Smith, Eric D.; Lillard, Angeline S.
Grantee Submission, Child Development Research v2017 Article 6838079 2017
Adults adopt the traits of characters in narratives, but little is known about whether children do so. In Study 1, 7- and 10-year-olds (N = 96) heard a 2.5-minute recording about a professor or cheerleader. Reporting higher engagement in the professor narrative related to more time playing with an analytical toy (a Rubik's cube), whereas reporting higher engagement in the cheerleader narrative related to less time playing with Rubik's cube.However,although children were randomly assigned to a narrative, within condition children may have had preexisting personality differences causing them both to become more engaged in that narrative and also to behave more like that character afterwards. To control for this possibility, in Study 2 children (N = 104) were given perspective-taking or objective instructions. Interestingly, both instructions created higher engagement than in Study 1, resulting in main effects of narrative. Children in the professor condition, compared to those in the cheerleader condition, spent more time playing with Rubik's cube and self-reported higher levels of professor-relevant characteristics (e.g., smart, good at teaching). These studies show that, by the elementary school years and particularly when highly engaged in a narrative, children adopt the traits of a narrative's central character.
Descriptors: Elementary School Students, Young Children, Personality Traits, Modeling (Psychology), Literary Devices, Educational Experiments, Toys, Perspective Taking, Fiction, Stereotypes, Identification, Measures (Individuals), Correlation, Predictor Variables, Behavior Rating Scales, Regression (Statistics), Children, Intelligence Tests, Statistical Analysis
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Elementary Education
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED); National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Law School Admission Test; Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: 1024293; R305B130012