Perception and Play in Children
The scientific report entitled Highchair Philosophers; the impact of seating context-dependent exploration on children’s naming bias was published in the Developmental Science in 2013. The study focused on how children learn to identify the properties of solid and nonsolid foods using shape and material biases. Previous studies have shown that children understand the perceptual difference between solid and nonsolid objects but have an easier time naming solid stimuli. After a carefully controlled experiment researchers reported that 16 month children have an easier time identifying non-solid objects after interacting with it physically dispute still being in the early stage of language development. It wasn’t long after this study was published that The New York Times’ Perri Klass published a popular press article entitled To Smoosh Peas Is to Learn bringing the issue into the public sphere. This critique will focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the original scientific study and the popular press piece report in The New York Times. This critique will also offer practical implications of such research in the real world.
Initially, the scientific report has many strengths especially in the design of the experiment. The operational definitions clearly specified which behaviors were being targeted and elaborated on all the variables. For example the text provided a chart of “non-solids” that were used in the study. It also provided examples of shape bias which in this study were the shapes that the exemplars were arranged in. Another strength of study was the was location of the study. Researchers placed the children in a context, in this case the highchair, similar to where they would normally be interacting with non-solids food rather than in a laboratory. This approach produced more authentic results and gave the study a lot of external validity.
However the study has also had some weaknesses primarily in the writing...
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