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Mother-Child Conversation and Children's Understanding of Biological and Nonbiological Changes in Size

Jennifer L. Jipson and Maureen A. Callanan
Child Development
Vol. 74, No. 2 (Mar. - Apr., 2003), pp. 629-644
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3696335
Page Count: 16
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Mother-Child Conversation and Children's Understanding of Biological and Nonbiological Changes in Size
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Abstract

This article explores the ways that mothers and children from primarily middle-income European American backgrounds reason about events in which biological and nonbiological objects change in size. In Study 1, mother-child conversations were examined to investigate the events mothers described as growth, as well as the ways mothers explained events occurring in different domains. Findings indicate that although mothers primarily discussed events in domain-specific ways, they exhibited some domain blurring in their talk to children. In Study 2, 3-year-old children (M = 3 years, 2 months) and 5-year-old children (M = 5 years) provided descriptions and explanations of the same events. Results suggest that preschool children have begun to develop domain-specific understandings. Results are discussed in light of the role that social interaction plays in children's conceptual development.

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