facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Picture books with talking animals prevent kids from learning about natural world

"Books that portray animals realistically lead to more learning and more accurate biological understanding," said Patricia Ganea, a psychologist.
By Brooks Hays   |   March 25, 2014 at 12:12 PM   |   Comments

| License Photo
March 25 (UPI) -- Children's books that feature talking animals, or animals displaying other human characteristics, like wearing clothes, lead to less realistic understandings of the natural world, researchers say.

A new study suggests such books not only inhibit specific, factual learning but also interfere with children's abstract thinking and conceptual reasoning about animals.

"Books that portray animals realistically lead to more learning and more accurate biological understanding," said Patricia Ganea, a psychologist at the University of Toronto. Ganea spearheaded research into the effects fantasy or unrealistic animals in books have on childhood learning.

The specifics of Ganae's study were recently published in the online journal Frontiers in Psychology.

"We were surprised to find that even the older children in our study were sensitive to the anthropocentric portrayals of animals in the books," added Ganae, "and attributed more human characteristics to animals after being exposed to fantastical books than after being exposed to realistic books."

Of course, a lack of fantastical (and wonderful) books about animals -- childhood staples like "Winnie the Pooh" or "Charlotte's Web" -- may have unintended consequences, a diminished imagination or curtailed creativity. But Ganae says her research isn't intended to discourage such books, only to remind parents and teachers that it's important to include informational and nonfiction books when helping children to understand the biological world.


[Frontiers in Psychology]

© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Featured UPI Collection
trending
2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]

2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
1
Mars rover spots rock shaped like thigh bone
2
Tech industry All Stars developing 'Star Trek'-style communication badges
3
Latvia boasts world's first net for migrating bats
4
Parched land in the drought-riddled West is actually rising
5
Neanderthals and humans interacted for thousands of years
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback