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The semiotic function: studies in children's representations
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
1990 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The main purpose of this thesis was to explore if there existed one single underlying semiotic function for representation. The problem was examined from both a theoretical and an empirical point of view.

In the first part of this thesis the theoretical considerations about Piaget's hypothesis of a single semiotic function are described and compared with a number of alternative approaches. The hypothesis is critically analyzed and its limitations are pointed out.

In the second part of this thesis the empirical studies are reported. One of the guiding lines for the experiments performed was the distinction made by Piaget between figurative and operative aspects of representation. The main conclusions to be drawn from the four studies were that they all supported, however tentatively, Piagets hypothesis of a single underlying semiotic function. In terms of figurative and operative aspects of cognition it was concluded that the underlying form (the operative aspect) at different ages is constant across the different representation modes. The differences found in the figurative aspect of representation were bound to the representation media, and could vary as a function of media, task demands and individual differences.

In the third part of this thesis problems with representation media and task demands are discussed together with research in related areas of the semiotic function.

The general conclusions drawns from this thesis were that there might exist a single underlying semiotic function for representation. The issue is neither simple nor uncomplicated. The distinction made between the figurative and operative aspect of representation is considered as one attempt to narrow down the generality of the hypothesis, and to distinguish between what is expected to be a universal aspect of the semiotic function and what varies as a function of media, task demands and individual-, social- , and cultural differences.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet , 1990. , 207 p.
Keyword [en]
Piaget, Semiotic function, Mental representation Figurative, Operative, Representation media
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-65879ISBN: 91-7174-463-0OAI: diva2:605822
Public defence
1989-03-30, Institutionen för psykologi, sal s2, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:15
Available from: 2013-02-15 Created: 2013-02-12 Last updated: 2013-02-15Bibliographically approved

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