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Title: Effects of Appeal on Preschool Children’s Comprehension of Educational Stories
Authors: Schatz, Jacob
Advisors: Lew-Williams, Casey
Contributors: Haushofer, Johannes
Department: Psychology
Class Year: 2015
Abstract: The degree to which children comprehend educational narratives has been debated extensively given how much time children spend reading books, watching television and playing electronic games and apps. Previous studies find many features intrinsic and extrinsic the story working together to facilitate the multiple cognitive processes involved in comprehension, but research has yet to reconcile the various models. In particular, the literature only loosely addresses whether ‘appealing’, attention-grabbing features of stories help or hinder conceptual comprehension and internalization of the lesson. The present study investigates how a combination of three dimensions of appealing narrative features (fantasy, humor and conflict) affect children’s comprehension. Preschool age participants were read stories of high or low appeal, then assessed on free recall and conceptual comprehension of both the narrative the lesson being conveyed in the story, and subsequent transfer of the lesson to interactions with an adult. Results showed that the high-appeal story facilitated higher engagement, better retention of the lesson, and better comprehension of the lesson, but inconsistent transfer of the lesson to their own behavior. A positive developmental trend was found influencing retention and comprehension of narrative content. These findings are discussed in the context of existing models of comprehension, opening the door for both a broader and deeper investigation of how, what, and to what extent children learn from educational stories. Keywords: Educational storytelling, comprehension, appeal, analogical transfer
Extent: 64 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Psychology, 1930-2016

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