Patterns of performance in children's figurative language skills and creative abilities



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The current investigation was designed to replicate and extend the findings of previous research in the areas of metaphoric carpetence and creativitity. To meet this objective, two primary issues were adressed; (1) children's understanding of metaphors varying in level of abstraction and pragmatic function; and (2) interrelationships among figurative competence, literary and dramatic creativity, and performance on standard tests of associative fluency and intelligence. Three major types of figurative expressions-physical, psychological, and literal-were examined. Partial confirmation of the expected order of difficulty was obtained within each of the age groups (9-10 and 11-12 years). Physical metaphors proved significantly easier for the younger subjects than either psychological or literal forms; however, no significant difference between the latter types was detected. In the older age group, although physical and psychological expressions did not differ in level of difficulty, each proved to be more readily comprehended than literal metaphors. Performance on this task was not predicted by either associative fluency or intelligence test scores and, with the exception of canprehension of psychological metaphors, these measures were uncorrelated with more subjective signs of inventiveness in the children's dramatic and literary productions.



Children, Language, Figures of speech