5 years ago

Parents' Spatial Language Mediates a Sex Difference in Preschoolers' Spatial Language Use.

Do boys produce more terms than girls to describe the spatial world-that is, dimensional adjectives (e.g., big, little, tall, short), shape terms (e.g., circle, square), and words describing spatial features and properties (e.g., bent, curvy, edge)? If a sex difference in children's spatial-language use exists, is it related to the spatial language that parents use when interacting with children? We longitudinally tracked the development of spatial-language production in children between the ages of 14 and 46 months in a diverse sample of 58 parent-child dyads interacting in their homes. Boys produced and heard more of these three categories of spatial words, which we call "what" spatial types (i.e., unique "what" spatial words), but not more of all other word types, than girls. Mediation analysis revealed that sex differences in children's spatial talk at 34 to 46 months of age were fully mediated by parents' earlier spatial-language use, when children were 14 to 26 months old, time points at which there was no sex difference in children's spatial-language use.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.1177/0956797617711968

DOI: 10.1177/0956797617711968

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