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Developmental Differences in the Construction of Concepts by Children from 3 to 14-Year-Olds: Perception, Language and Instruction

Authors: Mehmet Ozcan


This study was designed to investigate the relationship between language and children’s construction of the concept of objects, actions, and states. Participants of this study are 120 children whose ages range from 3 to 14 years. Ten children participated from each age group and 10 adults participated as normative group. Data were collected using 28 words which were identified and grouped according to the purpose of this study. Participants were asked the question “What is x?’ for each word in a reserved room. The audio recorded data were transcribed and coded. The data were analyzed primarily qualitatively but quantitatively as well to support qualitative findings. The findings reveal that younger children rely more on their perceptual experience and linguistic input while 7-year-olds and older ones rely more on instructional language in the construction of the concepts related to objects, actions and states. Adults differ from all age groups with their usage of metaphors to refer to objects. It has been noted that linguistic, perceptual and instructional experiences work in an interwoven way but each one seems to be dominant at certain ages.

Keywords: Cognition, concept construction, first language acquisition, language, thought.

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