The salience of temporal cues in the developing structure of event knowledge

Am J Psychol. 2000 Winter;113(4):591-619.


Two experiments used a novel method called Pathfinder to examine whether the salience of temporal cues embedded in event structure increases developmentally and whether people link event actions by simple adjacency relationships or embed them in an organized whole. A sequential format for eliciting knowledge was compared with a less structured format for dinner and bedtime events. Adults and their 8- and 10-year-old children demonstrated well-developed script organizations regardless of format, and organization improved across this age range. In Experiment 1, temporal cues were not a salient basis of comparison for 6-year-olds, but in Experiment 2 they could use temporal cues when instructed to do so. The results suggest that temporal salience increases between 6 and 10 years and that temporal knowledge of event actions is highly organized in this age range. Furthermore, children's event knowledge functions partly in the interaction between their developing event knowledge and the support provided by sequential constraints in the environment.

MeSH terms

  • Association Learning*
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Cues
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language Development
  • Male
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Problem Solving
  • Time Perception*