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A study of young children’s interpretation of a cartoon story: A comparison of children from two different socioeconomic backgrounds
Children of Low SES
This study aimed to understand how children from two socioeconomic backgrounds interpreted a cartoon story. Through the method of story-retelling, this study attempted to compare participants’ understanding of cartoon characters’ actions, and internal feelings. This study also compared participants’ overall evaluation of the cartoon story. 40 five-year-old children participated in the study, 20 from low socioeconomic families, 20 from middle and high socio-economic families. This study used interviews to collect children’s interpretations of the cartoon story. Interviews consisted of two parts; first for retelling the cartoon story and second semi-structured interviews. The former was designed to know children's understanding of the cartoon story, the latter to know children’s thoughts of cartoon characters and plots. Based on Stein& Glenn (1979) story grammar theory, story-retelling data were coded. Answers of semi-structured interview were coded according to their themes. T-tests were conducted to compare group differences. The results are as the following. 1.There was no significant difference in participants’ understanding of the story. Both groups of participants received highest scores in the code of "setting.” Low SES participants scored the least in the code of “result,” whereas high SES in the code of “internal state.” 2.Both groups used “concrete behaviors” to interpret whether characters achieved their internal feelings. They often used consecutively next behavior to interpret the character’s motivations of former behavior. 3.Both groups’ favorite characters are children. They both didn’t like adult characters. The reasons for their preferences of characters were based on characters’ appearances and behaviors. 4.Both groups of participants selected their favorite cartoons based their understanding the plots; the second most frequent reason was whether they watched the cartoons or not. 5.High SES children were more frequently than low socioeconomic children can provide solutions to problems in the cartoon.
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