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Communication with drawings: Exploring children's and adults' understanding of drawings as communicative symbols

Božin, Nera (2021) Communication with drawings: Exploring children's and adults' understanding of drawings as communicative symbols. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86679) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:86679)

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https://doi.org/10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86679

Abstract

Successful interpretation of referential communication requires understanding of mental states of others, or theory of mind. This thesis explored how children use their developing theory of mind to understand ambiguous referential expressions and ambiguous drawings. By identifying analogies between children's comprehension of verbal language and drawings, this thesis confirmed that drawings can be used as communicative symbols. Chapter 4 provided evidence that children's interpretation of drawings, parallel to understanding verbal expressions, requires inferring artist's mental states. Moreover, chapter 5 showed additional parallels with verbal language, showing that children generalise the meaning of ambiguous drawings in communication to the category of the drawn referent, which also reflected children's adherence to the artist's initial intent. Contrastingly, Chapters 3 and 6 together demonstrated children's and adults' egocentric interpretation of symbols, showing that they are not sensitive to partner-specific meaning of the ambiguous symbol. The inconsistencies in children's and adults' utilization of their mindreading skills in communication in different empirical chapters call for assessing the benefit of considering others' mental states in particular communicative contexts. The findings contributed to the understanding of how children and adults resolve the meaning of ambiguous symbols and coordinate simultaneous perspectives. Moreover, they showed the richness and complexity of using mindreading skills in interaction with others. Future research of communication with ambiguous symbols should consider the interplay of communicative context, the benefit of considering others' mental states, and executive function skills.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Kelly, David
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86679
Uncontrolled keywords: drawings, referential communication, theory of mind, ambiguous symbols, conceptual pacts
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2021 16:10 UTC
Last Modified: 19 May 2021 15:16 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/86679 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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