Number 42 (2017)

Szubielska, M., Dziopa, K. (2017). Mass media and conceptual development: A study of naming animal cartoon characters by children

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Magdalena Szubielska
Institute of Psychology, The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin

Kamila Dziopa
Psychological and Pedagogical Municipal Consulting Centre in Kielce

Abstract:
The article focuses on an experiment involving children (3-8 years old), where a naming task assessed the adequacy of categorization and the frequency of responses provided from the subordinate level of concepts, with regard to two concept domains – dogs and lemurs. It was assessed whether the animal designated by the image and displayed for naming was derived from a television programme and whether it had human attributes. Both in the case of cartoon characters and images of animals which were not known from TV shows, subjects’ age was a differentiating factor with regard to the time required for identifying the animals. Older children needed more time for the identification than the younger subjects, which may reflect the analysis of the concept’s definitive traits. Whether or not the animal designate was an animated TV character, children tended to make more mistakes while identifying rare animals than in naming the typical ones, which is consistent with the prototype theory of concepts. The prototypical representation of concepts in children is additionally confirmed by the shorter time needed for the identification of typical animals than the rare ones. While identifying cartoon characters children more frequently used names from the subordinate level than was the case with images unknown to them from TV films. The obtained result was not due to having an attribute which allows for easier description of the animal. Moreover, the task of naming lemurids demonstrated that knowledge of less typical animals – TV characters, is of specific nature and may not impact general knowledge related to a given domain of concepts.

Keywords: children’s television programmes, conceptual development, naming task

Cite this article as:

Szubielska, M., Dziopa, K. (2017). Mass media and conceptual development: A study of naming animal cartoon characters by children. Psychologia Społeczna, 42, 304-318. doi: 10.7366/1896180020174205
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