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Healthy and chronically-ill children's generalisation of illness to biological and non-biological categories

Buchanan-Barrow, E, Barrett, M and Bati, M (2004) Healthy and chronically-ill children's generalisation of illness to biological and non-biological categories Infant and Child Development, 13 (5). pp. 435-450.


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Using children's naive theory of biology as a framework, this study investigated children's developing understanding of illness by examining their generalisation of illness to biological and non-biological categories. In addition to differences associated with age, the children's health status was investigated for any possible links with their understanding. Healthy and chronically-ill children, aged 4-11 years, were randomly assigned to one of three conditions, according to which exemplar (child, dog or duck) was described as suffering from an imaginary illness. Using a card-sorting technique, the children assessed whether each entity out of 30 entities (five representatives in each of six categories: humans, mammals, non-mammals, birds, plants and artifacts) could be afflicted by that illness. The children's generalisations indicated a grasp of the distinctiveness of the various categories, although they seemed less certain about the biological status of plants. Furthermore, the type of exemplar on which the children had been taught influenced their responses. However, the children's reasoning appeared unaffected by their health status and largely unaffected by age or gender. Copyright (C) 2004 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
Date : 2004
Uncontrolled Keywords : children; illness; biology; naive theory knowledge; conceptions; experience; contagion; germs
Depositing User : Mr Adam Field
Date Deposited : 27 May 2010 14:43
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 14:02

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