Two studies were conducted to examine 4- to 6-year-old children's understanding of how to convey symbol–referent relations using legends. Study 1 investigated children's ability to evaluate legends in terms of whether or not they clearly convey information (N = 74). In this study, 41% of children were successful, with performance uniquely differentiated by sensitivity to ambiguity and executive function. Study 2 investigated children's ability to create informative legends (N = 115), with 39% being successful. Nearly half of those who were unsuccessful improved after exposure to exemplars (relative to only 9% in the baseline group). Sensitivity to ambiguity uniquely differentiated their ability to create a legend and improve after exposure. These studies provide insight into children's developing understanding of how symbol meanings are effectively conveyed and the contributions of other cognitive factors.

Children, Executive function, Legends, Representations, Sensitivity to ambiguity, Symbols
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Department of Psychology

Astle-Rahim, A. (Andrea), & Kamawar, D. (2020). Conveying symbolic relations: Children's ability to evaluate and create informative legends. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 200. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2020.104968