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When and How Do Toddlers in Rural Western Kenya Understand the Representational Nature of Pictures?

Health & Psychology Kenya

Credit: SC Cunningham

In order to address whether rural Kenyan toddlers have more difficulty mapping words to pictures than to objects, we will run a similar experimental paradigm amongst rural Kenyan two-year-olds (n=32). Instead of teaching a word mapping for a picture, we will teach a word mapping for an object. Specifically, we will examine whether, after being taught a word for an object, these toddlers can select the correct object over distractor objects when prompted with the word. We will compare the number of toddlers who succeeded in the original word-picture mapping to the number of toddlers who succeeded in the new word-object mapping using a Fisher’s exact test. Results showing that rural Kenyan toddlers have more difficulty learning words for pictures than for objects would suggest a need to rethink the validity of assessment tools with picture stimuli in non-Western contexts.

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  • Rebecca Zhu
  • Helen Pitchik
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