Assignment: Conceptual Processing
Assignment: Conceptual Processing
Assignment: Conceptual Processing
Second, the ages during which these shifts occur vary markedly across children. For rough approximations, we define younger children as those between 2 and 7, older children as those between 8 and 12, and adolescents as those between 13 and 18.
Younger Children Versus Older Children
From Perceptual to Conceptual Processing. Preschoolers pay close attention to how things look and sound. This focus on salient features has been referred to as perceptual boundedness (Bruner, 1966). Perceptual boundedness is defined as an overreliance on perceptual information at the expense of nonobvious or unobservable information that may be more relevant (Springer, 2001). For example, preschoolers frequently group objects together based on shared perceptual features such as color or shape (Bruner, Olver, & Greenfield, 1966; Melkman, Tversky, & Baratz, 1981). In contrast, by age 6 or 7, children have begun sorting objects based on conceptual properties such as the functions they share (Tversky, 1985). With regard to the media, studies show that younger children pay strong visual attention to perceptually salient features such as animation, sound effects, and lively music (Anderson & Levin, 1976; Calvert & Gersh, 1987; Schmitt, Anderson, & Collins, 1999). Older children, on the other hand, tend to be more selective in their attention, searching for cues that are meaningful to the plot rather than those that are merely salient (Calvert, Huston, Watkins, & Wright, 1982).
One creative experiment involving television revealed this distinction quite clearly. Hoffner and Cantor (1985) exposed children to a television character who was either attractive or ugly and who acted kind toward others or was cruel (see Figure 1.15). Preschoolers generally rated the ugly character as mean and the attractive character as nice, independent of the character’s actual behavior. In other words, their evaluations were strongly affected by the character’s physical appearance. Older children’s judgments, in contrast, were influenced more by the character’s behavior than her looks.
Why are younger children so perceptual in their focus? Tversky (1985) has argued that all children can be swayed by strong perceptual cues in a situation, but that as they develop children come to suppress immediate, salient responses in favor of slower, more thoughtful ones. This shift is undoubtedly fostered by the acquisition of knowledge that is conceptual in
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Discussion Questions (DQ)
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Use of Direct Quotes
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