Symbolic Understanding of Pictures in Low-Functioning Children with Autism: The Effects of Iconicity and Naming
- 1.6k Downloads
This research investigated whether symbolic understanding of pictures in low-functioning children with autism is mediated by iconicity and language. In Experiment 1, participants were taught novel words paired with unfamiliar pictures that varied in iconicity (black-and-white line drawings, greyscale photographs, colour line drawings, colour photographs). Unlike mental-age matched typically developing peers, children with autism generally mapped words onto pictures rather than depicted referents, however, they generalised labels more frequently in colour picture conditions. In Experiment 2, children with autism categorised a line drawing with its referent, rather than another picture, regardless of whether it was named. Typically developing children only viewed pictures as symbols when they were labelled. Overall, symbolic understanding of pictures in children with autism is facilitated by iconicity (particularly colour), but not language.
KeywordsAutism Understanding pictures Iconicity Naming Picture exchange communication system
We would like to thank the children and staff at Hillside Specialist School, Preston (UK), Sandgate School, Kendal (UK), Ghyllside Primary School, Kendal (UK), and Burton Preschool, Burton-in-Kendal (UK).
- American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental health disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
- Baron-Cohen, S. (1995). Mindblindness: An essay on autism and theory of mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Barrera, M. E., & Maurer, D. (1981). Recognition of mother’s photographed face by the three-month-old infant. Child Development, 52, 714–716. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1129196.
- Bloom, P. (2000). How children learn the meanings of words. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Bondy, A., & Frost, L. (1994). The picture exchange communication system. Focus on Autistic Behavior, 9, 1–19.Google Scholar
- Callaghan, T. C. (1999). Early understanding and production of graphic symbols. Child Development, 7, 1314–1324. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8624.00096.
- Callaghan, T. C. (2008). The origins and development of pictorial symbolic functioning. In C. Milbrath & H. Trautner (Eds.), Children’s understanding and production of pictures, drawings, and art (pp. 21–32). Cambridge, MA: Hogrefe and Huber.Google Scholar
- Callaghan, T. C., & Rochat, P. (2008). Children’s understanding of artist-picture relations: Implications for their theories of pictures. In C. Milbrath & H. M. Trautner (Eds.), Children’s understanding and production of pictures, drawings, and art (pp. 186–205). Cambridge, MA: Hogreffe and Huber Publishers.Google Scholar
- Callaghan, T. C., Rochat, P., MacGillivray, T., & MacLellan, C. (2004). Modeling referential actions in 6- to 18-month-old infants: A precursor to symbolic understanding. Child Development, 75, 1733–1744. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2004.00813.x.
- DeLoache, J. S. (2002). The symbol-mindedness of young children. In W. Hartup & R. A. Weinberg (Eds.), Child psychology in retrospect and prospect: In celebration of the 75th anniversary of the institute of child development (vol. 32). (pp. 73–101). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- DeLoache, J. S., Strauss, M. S., & Maynard, J. (1979). Picture perception in infancy. Infant Behavior and Development, 2, 77–89. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0163-6383(79)80010-7.
- Dirks, J. R., & Gibson, E. (1977). Infants’ perception of similarity between live people and photographs. Child Development, 48, 124–130. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1128890.
- Dunn, L. M., Dunn, L. M., Whetton, C., & Burley, J. (1997). The British picture vocabulary scale (2nd ed.). Windsor: NFER-Nelson.Google Scholar
- Frost, L., & Bondy, A. (2002). PECS training manual. Newark, DE: Pyramid Educational Consultants.Google Scholar
- Gelman, S. (2003). The essential child. Origins of essentialism in everyday thought. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Lord, C., & Paul, R. (1997). Language and communication in autism. In D. J. Cohen & F. R. Volkmar (Eds.), Handbook of autism and pervasive developmental disorders (2nd ed., pp. 195–225). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Lord, C., Rutter, M., & Le Couteur, A. (1994). Autism diagnostic interview—revised: A revised version of a diagnostic interview for caregivers of individuals with possible pervasive developmental disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 24(5), 659–685. doi: 10.1007/BF02172145.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Lord, C., Rutter, M., DiLavore, P. C., & Risi, S. (2002). Autism diagnostic observation schedule. Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services (WPS edition).Google Scholar
- Lord, C., Risi, S., & Pickles, A. (2004). Trajectory of language development in autistic spectrum disorders. In M. L. Rice & S. F. Warren (Eds.), Developmental language disorders: From phenotypes to etiologies (pp. 1–38). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Rescorla, R., & Wagner, A. (1972). A theory of Pavlovian conditioning: Variations in the effectiveness of reinforcement and nonreinforcement. In A. Black & W. Prokasy (Eds.), Classical conditioning II: Current research and theory (pp. 64–99). New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
- Ruxton, G. D., & Neuhäuser, M. (2010). Good practice in testing for an association in contingency tables. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, 64(9), 1505–1513. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00265-010-1014-0.
- Sigel, I. E. (1978). The development of pictorial comprehension. In S. Bikkar, B. S. Randhawa, & W. E. Coffman (Eds.), Methods of family research: Biographies of research projects: Vol. 1. Normal families (pp. 87–120). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- Smith, L. B. (2000). How to learn words: An associative crane. In R. Golinkoff & K. Hirsh-Pasek (Eds.), Breaking the word learning barrier (pp. 51–80). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Suddendorf, T. (2003). Early representational insight: Twenty-four-month-olds can use a photo to find an object in the world. Child Development, 74, 896–904. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8624.00574.
- Volkmar, F., Klin, A., & Cohen, D. (2000). Diagnosis and classification of autism and related conditions: Consensus and issues. In D. Cohen & F. Volkmar (Eds.), Handbook of autism and pervasive developmental disorders (2nd ed.). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar