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Young children's ability to devise external representations in problem-solving tasks has not been fully examined. The present two experiments investigated children's creation and use of external representations (i.e., external representation strategies) in different conditions. In each experiment, 4- and 6-year-old children listened to a series of sentences (e.g., "The doll is on the table") and were required to remember where to place the objects named in the sentences. In Experiment 1, direct training increased the use of external representations. When the salience of task dimensions increased in Experiment 2, children's external representation strategies also increased. Four-year-old children showed a utilization deficiency in external representation strategy use in the prompt conditions, but not in the training condition. Thus, young children require additional situational support before they demonstrate cognitive competencies (Bray, Fletcher, & Turner, 1997). Copyright 1997 Academic Press.
Document Type: Research Article
University of Miami 2:
University of Alabama at Birmingham