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Visual scene displays: Searching for evidence of developmental consequences

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Visual scene displays:
Searching for evidence of developmental consequences

Stephen von Tetzchner and Kristine Stadskleiv
Department of psychology, University of Oslo, Norway

In semiotic theory it is a characteristic of the linguistic sign that it is arbitrary, that there is no physical relationship between the word form and its meaning or use. The relationship between form and meaning, the signifier and the signified, is conventional. However, many discussions of graphic communication systems seems to take the images themselves as the starting point, rather than the symbols’ function as referring expressions. One example is the suggestion to organize graphic symbols in communication aids used by young children in pages with «visual scenes». A visual (or conceptual) scene could be a photograph or drawing of a room in the house or of the child in a play situation. Symbols are placed under some of the objects depicted in the scene, and the child activates a symbol and its spoken gloss by indicating the object. The argument for doing this is that young children tend to organize things around events. The over-riding question is how the use of communication systems with mainly pictographic symbols embedded in visual scenes may influence the language development of young aided communicators, their utterances and conversational interactions. A search for evidence for claims made about visual scene displays indicates that there is little evidence that support these claims and that the developmental consequences of children developing aided communication having such displays are simply not known.

Author(s):

Stephen von Tetzchner    
Department of Psychology, University of Oslo
Norway

Kristine Stadskleiv    
Department of Psychology, University of Oslo
Norway

 

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