Experimenter's Pantomimes Influence Children's Use of Body Part as Object and Imaginary Object Pantomimes: A Replication

Author ORCID Identifier

Robert Mitchell ORCID iD iconhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-8797-7484



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Young children asked to pretend to use a series of absent objects typically pantomime by using a body part as the object (BPO) rather than by acting as if using an imaginary object (IO). This replication of Lyons (1983; 1986) examines whether different pretend contexts when requesting pantomimes influence their use of IO and BPO pantomimes. Forty-three children aged 3;6 to 6;6 were asked to pretend to use 8 objects in one of three contexts: request, request after participating in an experimenter-provided imaginary context, and request after seeing the adult model the requested pretend action; the experimenter used IO pantomimes in the last two contexts. Children produced, on average, the most IO pantomimes in the modeling context, fewer in the imaginary context, and the fewest in the request context. Older children overall produced more IO pantomimes than younger children; however, when pretend contexts were examined separately, ontogenetic differences in IO pantomimes were present for the request condition only. Externally directed actions resulted in more IO pantomiming than self-directed actions for only the youngest children.

Journal Title

Journal of Cognition and Development