Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Research Suggests That When Children Ask 'What Is This?' They May Seek An Object's Function

Date:
March 19, 2004
Source:
American Psychological Society
Summary:
In the way magic eye posters simultaneously hide and reveal the main point of the picture, new research suggests that children might well be asking more than their simply-worded questions seem to indicate.

In the way magic eye posters simultaneously hide and reveal the main point of the picture, new research suggests that children might well be asking more than their simply-worded questions seem to indicate.

Related Articles


Normally, adults assume that when children ask, "What is this?" in reference to an object, they are seeking merely a name--some kind of label to help differentiate the elements of their rapidly burgeoning universes. However, a new study explored the possibility that children posing such a question might actually be seeking the object's function, not simply its name. These findings by Swarthmore College researchers Deborah Kemler Nelson, Morghan Holt and Louisa Chan Egan will be published in the June issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the American Psychological Society.

The study separated two-, three-, and four-year-olds into two groups, and allowed the children in each group to inquire about unfamiliar artifacts. In one group, questions were answered with the name of the object; in the other, its function was provided. Regardless of age, children were inclined to follow up with supplemental questions about an object when they were told only its name. However, the children given thorough, functional information seemed more satisfied with the response.

Moreover, children receiving only an object's name tended to rephrase their questions over the course of the session in an attempt to elicit more functional information. These results suggest that young children might well be interested in and capable of distinguishing objects by more than just a superficial classification.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Psychological Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Psychological Society. "New Research Suggests That When Children Ask 'What Is This?' They May Seek An Object's Function." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 March 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040319075544.htm>.
American Psychological Society. (2004, March 19). New Research Suggests That When Children Ask 'What Is This?' They May Seek An Object's Function. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040319075544.htm
American Psychological Society. "New Research Suggests That When Children Ask 'What Is This?' They May Seek An Object's Function." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040319075544.htm (accessed March 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, March 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) European researchers say our smartphone use offers scientists an ideal testing ground for human brain plasticity. Dr Ako Ghosh&apos;s team discovered that the brains and thumbs of smartphone users interact differently from those who use old-fashioned handsets. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) According to a new study by the Alzheimer&apos;s Association, more than half of those who have the degenerative brain disease aren&apos;t told by their doctors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

Newsy (Mar. 23, 2015) Researchers found those who napped for 45 minutes to an hour before being tested on information recalled it five times better than those who didn&apos;t. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins