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Young Children's Understanding of Realities, Nonrealities, and Appearances

Young Children's Understanding of Realities, Nonrealities, and Appearances In 2 studies we uncover some of children's earliest conceptions of various realities, nonrealities, and appearances. In the first study, we investigated children's early understanding by examining their use of the words real and really in spontaneous speech. These natural language data consisted of longitudinal samples of 6 children's speech between the ages of 1 and 6 from the childes database. Analyses of these samples showed that by age 3 children clearly distinguished between reality and a variety of nonreal contrasts in their everyday speech. For example, young children distinguished between toys, pictures, and pretend actions versus their real natures. We claim that, in making these distinctions, children often are considering appearances, broadly construed. To confirm this, we conducted a second experimental study with 3‐year‐olds, in which we questioned children about the reality and appearance of a variety of items. Results from this study confirm and clarify our findings from the natural language data. We discuss the implications of these studies for current descriptions of young children's understanding of realities and nonrealities, including their understanding of the distinction between reality and appearance. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Child Development Wiley

Young Children's Understanding of Realities, Nonrealities, and Appearances

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 1990 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0009-3920
eISSN
1467-8624
DOI
10.1111/j.1467-8624.1990.tb02833.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In 2 studies we uncover some of children's earliest conceptions of various realities, nonrealities, and appearances. In the first study, we investigated children's early understanding by examining their use of the words real and really in spontaneous speech. These natural language data consisted of longitudinal samples of 6 children's speech between the ages of 1 and 6 from the childes database. Analyses of these samples showed that by age 3 children clearly distinguished between reality and a variety of nonreal contrasts in their everyday speech. For example, young children distinguished between toys, pictures, and pretend actions versus their real natures. We claim that, in making these distinctions, children often are considering appearances, broadly construed. To confirm this, we conducted a second experimental study with 3‐year‐olds, in which we questioned children about the reality and appearance of a variety of items. Results from this study confirm and clarify our findings from the natural language data. We discuss the implications of these studies for current descriptions of young children's understanding of realities and nonrealities, including their understanding of the distinction between reality and appearance.

Journal

Child DevelopmentWiley

Published: Aug 1, 1990

References