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Book Sections Year : 2018

Children’s ability to improve their narratives: A preliminary study of the relation to Executive Function abilities

Habilidades para mejorar narraciones: relación con las funciones ejecutivas. Estudio preliminar

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Abstract

Abstract To be reduced Producing coherent and cohesive narratives requires not only linguistic and pragmatic competences, but also cognitive skills. Previous studies have shown that adult-child conversation about the causes of the story events leads some children to tell more coherent narratives containing more explanations and more references to the characters’ internal states. Executive function skills might be related to the individual variation observed in children’s ability to improve their initial narratives. Indeed, narrating a more coherent story often implies changing the viewpoint on it, and may be related to executive function skills such as cognitive inhibition and flexibility. The aim of the present study is to examine this hypothesis. Participants in the study were 21 French-speaking children aged 7-8 years, attending 2nd grade classes in a Paris public school. Children were confronted with narrative and executive functions tasks. For the narrative task, children were presented with the ‘Stone story’, composed of five wordless pictures and interpretable as a story of a misunderstanding between two characters. The children were asked to tell their story before and after a short conversation with the adult, discussing the causes of the main events of the story. For executive functions Cognitive inhibition and flexibility, often interconnected, were evaluated by relevant measures. Flexibility was assessed by two multi-criteria classification and figure-choice tasks, both highlighting children’s ability to shift from one similarity criterion to another. The animal Stroop was used to specifically assess inhibition. Preliminary results confirm that several children change their story from a predominantly descriptive to a predominantly causality-linked narrative, some referring to the false belief of one of the characters and invoking it as a plausible reason for the latter’s behavior. Good flexibility and inhibition scores appear as necessary but not sufficient conditions for these changes.
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Dates and versions

halshs-03108736 , version 1 (18-09-2022)

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  • HAL Id : halshs-03108736 , version 1

Cite

Edy Veneziano, Eleonora Bartoli. Children’s ability to improve their narratives: A preliminary study of the relation to Executive Function abilities. V. Rosell-Clari, T. Cervera Crespo, and C. Hernández-Sacristán (Eds.). Language and Executive Functioning: A Multidisciplinary Perspective / Lenguaje y Funcionamiento Ejecutivo: Una Perspectiva Pluridisciplinar, Tirant Lo Blanch, pp.47-76, 2018, 9788417069568. ⟨halshs-03108736⟩
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