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Can one written word mean many things? Prereaders’ assumptions about the stability of written words’ meanings

By J. S. Collins and Elizabeth J. Robinson

Abstract

Results of three experiments confirmed previous findings that in a moving word task, prereaders 3 to 5 years of age judge as if the meaning of a written word changes when it moves from a matching to a nonmatching toy (e.g., when the word “dog” moves from a dog to a boat). We explore under what circumstances children make such errors, we identify new conditions under which children were more likely correctly to treat written words’ meanings as stable: when the word was placed alongside a nonmatching toy without having been alongside a matching toy previously, when two words were moved from a matching toy to a nonmatching toy, and when children were asked to change what the print said. Under these conditions, children more frequently assumed that physical forms had stable meanings as they do with other forms of external representation

Topics: BF, P1
Publisher: Academic Press
Year: 2005
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:1252

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