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The Pygmalion Problem and Early Symbol Use

Dr. Judy DeLoache

Tuesday, February 10, 2004, 01:00pm - 02:00pm

Department of Psychology, University of Virginia

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�Every culture has a wealth of symbols and symbol systems that support cognition and communication, and all children must master a variety of symbolic artifacts to participate fully in their society.� They begin to do so very early in life, but there are many challenges in the course of achieving effective and appropriate symbol use.� One is gaining a mature appreciation of the nature of symbol-referent relations.� I will describe three cases in which infants and young children blur the distinction between symbols and their referents.� The three cases involve treating symbolic artifacts (models, pictures, and replica objects) as if they were their referents.

Dr. Judy DeLoache