Wilkins, Susan Jean (1986) Some aspects of the semantic and conceptual development of possession in young children. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Abstract

This thesis represents a research programme investigating the development of possession in children from eighteen months to six years. It is intended to contribute to two areas of research: the acquisition of possessives, particularly possessive pronouns, examined in the first three sections of the Literature Review: and the meaning of possession in early childhood, presented in the last section of the Literature Review.
Five experiments were undertaken in total, three focusing on children's production and comprehension of possessives. The results indicate that children learn singular possessives before plurals. The first possessives acquired, by eighteen months, are those referrinq to the children themselves as owners, then those relating to the other person in the communication dyad, and later still the remaining sinqulars. Of the plural possessives, those referring to owners outside the communication dyad are acquired first, then those involving the other person in the dyad, and finally at about five years, those including the child himself as a joint owner. The order of acquisition is similar for all possessives, propernoun or pronoun. A model explaining this pattern is proposed.
The type of object possessed also appears to affect children's performance. A Fourth experiment demonstrates that children understand possession best when it involves intrinsic inalienable objects rather than alienable objects, whilst reciprocal inalienable objects cause them most problems. Other factors regarding alienable objects, specifically the permanency of the relationship and its duration, also affect children's understanding.
Finally an interview study (experiment 5) suggests that children's understanding of possession includes the right of access to objects and the control over access by others. Age differences in the children's conception of possession are apparent but it is unclear whether these concern their understanding of possession, their ability to define it or their status as children under their parent's authority.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Psychology
Contributors: Rogers, D (Thesis advisor)
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2020 16:17
Last Modified: 27 Jan 2020 16:19
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/7581

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