ERIC Number: EJ936951
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Symbolic Play Connects to Language through Visual Object Recognition
Smith, Linda B.; Jones, Susan S.
Developmental Science, v14 n5 p1142-1149 Sep 2011
Object substitutions in play (e.g. using a box as a car) are strongly linked to language learning and their absence is a diagnostic marker of language delay. Classic accounts posit a symbolic function that underlies both words and object substitutions. Here we show that object substitutions depend on developmental changes in visual object recognition: 18- to 30-month old children (n = 63) substitute objects in play after they have developed the adult-like ability to recognize common objects from sparse models of their geometric structure. These developmental changes in object recognition are a better predictor of object substitutions than language or age. A developmental pathway connecting visual object recognition, object name learning, and symbolic play is proposed in which object substitutions are like the canary in the coal mine: they are not causally related to language delay, but their absence is an easily detected signal of a problem in language acquisition.
Descriptors: Play, Recognition (Psychology), Visual Perception, Language Acquisition, Infants, Child Development, Developmental Delays
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
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