The relationship between symbolic play and executive function in young children

Journal article


Kelly, Rachel, Dissanayake, Cheryl, Ihsen, Elfriede and Hammond, Sabine. (2011). The relationship between symbolic play and executive function in young children. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood. 36(2), pp. 21 - 27.
AuthorsKelly, Rachel, Dissanayake, Cheryl, Ihsen, Elfriede and Hammond, Sabine
Abstract

The role of executive function, specifically inhibitory control and generativity, in symbolic play was investigated in 20 children aged 48-89 months. Assessment of inhibitory control was via the Sun-Moon Stroop task, and generativity was assessed with the Semantic Fluency task, as well as a new object substitution task which required children to generate as many uses of toys as possible. Symbolic play ability was assessed under both structured conditions, using the Test of Pretend Play (Lewis and Boucher, 1997), and during free play. The results indicated that the ability to inhibit prepotent responses was associated with children's symbolic play skills, even after controlling for mental age. In contrast, generativity scores on both tasks were not correlated with symbolic play, indicating that only some aspects of executive function are implicated in symbolic play. The validity of the tasks used to measure executive function is discussed.

Year2011
JournalAustralasian Journal of Early Childhood
Journal citation36 (2), pp. 21 - 27
PublisherSage Publications Ltd.
ISSN1836-9391
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84878400333
Web address (URL)https://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=052689338142076;res=IELAPA
Page range21 - 27
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Controlled
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
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