Labeling and Representation in a Multistep Multilocation Search Task with 2.5- to 3-Year-Old Children

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Stephanie Elisabeth Miller (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Stuart Marcovitch

Abstract: Few studies have examined the development of executive function in children younger than 3 years of age. At this age, language may allow children to reflect upon stronger representations which in turn may influence the control of behavior. The present study was designed to assess the role of differential labeling on an age appropriate variant of the A-not-B task. Sixty-four 2.5- to 3-year-old children participated in a novel computerized version of the mulitstep multilocation search task. On each trial, children were given one of 4 different types of cues to aid search: no cue, visual cue only, experimenter produced label cue, or child generated label cue. Results revealed that children perseverate less only when they generate the label of the hiding location. This is consistent with the HCSM which postulates that generating a label of the hiding location builds a stronger linguistic representation which permits children to reflect abstractly on the representation. In addition, trends suggest that children provided with cues had longer response times, supporting response time as a measure of reflection in young children. Finally, when provided with linguistic information, children who perseverated actually had higher language abilities compared to those who were correct. This result may support the view of linguistic processing as a limited capacity. Those with higher language abilities have the capacity to process linguistic cues and may build a stronger habit on the A-trials making it more difficult for them to override the habitual response on the B-trials.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2007
Executive Function, Representation, Labeling, Language
Toddlers $x Language
Toddlers $x Psychology
Executive functions (Neuropsychology)

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