The Influence of Story Character Realism and Theme on Protagonists’ Internal States and Dialogue in Children’s Retells.

Russell, Samantha J and Wang, Jessica and Cain, Kate (2024) The Influence of Story Character Realism and Theme on Protagonists’ Internal States and Dialogue in Children’s Retells. Cognitive Development. ISSN 0885-2014 (In Press)

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Abstract

Anthropomorphized animals are a prevalent character type in children’s books. However, stories with fantastical protagonists are associated with poorer social learning than those with human protagonists. We explored whether children’s representations of characters’ internal states and dialogue in story retells were related to story character realism (anthropomorphized animal, human), story theme (sharing, busyness), age, and vocabulary. Three- to seven-year-olds (N = 171) listened to one of four versions of an illustrated storybook that manipulated character realism and theme. Developmental trends were evident: Older children included more internal state references and dialogue in their retells than younger children. Of note, children retelling a prosocial story with human protagonists included more socio-relational language than those retelling a busy-themed story featuring humans; the same advantage was not evident for stories with animal protagonists. These findings imply that realistic protagonists may elicit more robust representations of social ideas in the minds of young children.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Cognitive Development
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Research Output Funding/yes_externally_funded
Subjects:
?? anthropomorphismchildren's storiesretellsinternal statesdialoguemoral developmentyes - externally fundedexperimental and cognitive psychologydevelopmental and educational psychology ??
ID Code:
220368
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
23 May 2024 08:05
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
In Press
Last Modified:
30 May 2024 01:21