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Do Young Children Know What Makes A Picture Useful To Other People?

In: Journal of Cognition and Culture
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  • 1 Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, 7 George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9JZ, UK
  • | 2 Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, 7 George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9JZ, UK, Lancaster University, Psychology Department Fylde College, Lancaster LA1 4YF, UK;, Email: melissa.allen@lancaster.ac.uk
  • | 3 Department of Psychology, Yale University, 2 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven, CT 06520-8205, USA
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Abstract

Even babies have an implicit appreciation of the relationship between realistic pictures and the objects that they depict, but a mature understanding of pictures involves an explicit appreciation of how pictures work. Adults appreciate that pictures are public representations that can communicate information to other people, and that some pictures are better at doing this than others. We explore the foundations of this understanding in young children. In three experiments, using yes/no and forced-choice questions, we find that 3- and 4-year olds understand that other people benefit from pictures that contain greater perceptual detail and that the more realistic the picture, the better it is as a symbolic vehicle.

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