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.

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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