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Weidinger, Nicole; Lindner, Katrin; Hogrefe, Katharina; Ziegler, Wolfram and Goldenberg, Georg (2017): Getting a Grasp on Children's Representational Capacities in Pantomime of Object Use. In: Journal of Cognition and Development, Vol. 18, No. 2: pp. 246-269

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This study examined how 5- and 9-year-old children (N=40) produce pantomimes of object use on verbal request. The task required participants to enact an action with an imagined object. Results showed that with age, children (a) proceeded from body part as object to imaginary object and (b) incorporated into their pantomimes more distinctive features of the object and its use. While the first result replicated previous findings with more items and a more sophisticated coding procedure, the latter result revealed new insights. Children's selection of distinctive features in pantomime was related to their performance on a semantic odd-one-out task that requires the abstraction of specific features without situational support. The discussion focuses on the cognitive requirements of the task and the potential of pantomime being a reflection of children's representational development. We suggest an explanation of the findings within the more general developmental model of Karmiloff-Smith.

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