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ERIC Number: EJ810814
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jul
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 49
ISSN: ISSN-1524-8372
Developmental Continuity in Teleo-Functional Explanation: Reasoning about Nature among Romanian Romani Adults
Casler, Krista; Kelemen, Deborah
Journal of Cognition and Development, v9 n3 p340-362 Jul 2008
Teleo-functional explanations account for objects in terms of purpose, helping us understand objects such as pencils (for writing) and body parts such as ears (for hearing). Western-educated adults restrict teleo-functional attributions to artifact, biological, and behavioral phenomena, considering such explanations less appropriate for nonliving natural entities. In contrast, children extend explanations of purpose to the nonliving natural domain. This cross-cultural study explores whether apparent restrictions in "promiscuous teleology" occur as a function of age and development, generally, or scientific literacy, more specifically. Using methodology from Kelemen (1999b), two groups of adult Romanian Roma from the same community selected explanations for properties of biological and nonbiological natural entities; one group had little or no science training, the other was formally schooled. Compared to their schooled peers and to Western-educated American adults, nonschooled Romani adults were more likely to endorse purpose-based explanations of nonbiological natural entities. Findings challenge assumptions of fundamental conceptual discontinuities between children and adults. (Contains 2 tables and 4 footnotes.)
Psychology Press. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Romania