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ERIC Number: EJ940075
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Sep
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0261-510X
The Decontextualization of Form and Function in the Development of Pretence
Bigham, Sally; Bourchier-Sutton, Alison
British Journal of Developmental Psychology, v25 n3 p335-351 Sep 2007
Through the process of decontextualization, the behaviours and objects used in children's pretence become increasingly detached from their real-life contexts and uses (Flavell, 1985). However, whilst age-related changes in children's pretence have been reasonably well documented, the relationship between the decontextualization of form and function has yet to be established and the relationship between pretence using substitute objects and pretence without substitute objects remains unclear. To address these issues, 3-8-year-old typically developing children (N = 84) were shown a series of pretend actions, like writing, enacted at various levels of decontextualization. Children's understanding of each action was assessed. The results revealed three main findings. First, form and function are both equally important in children's comprehension of object substitution pretence. Second, children find actions enacted using substitute objects that are similar to the referent in terms of both their form and function easier to interpret than those performed using decontextualized props--including body-part-as-object (BPO) and imaginary object (IO) gestures--regardless of age. Finally, BPO and IO gestures are of equal complexity and children 5 years and above correctly interpret these gestures more readily than actions involving substitute objects that share no similarity with the referent. These findings are discussed in relation to dual and triune representation problems (DeLoache, 1995; Tomasello, Striano, & Rochat, 1999).
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A