Perceptual, thematic and taxonomic relations in children's mental representations: Responses to triads

Michele Walsh, Ken Richardson, Dorothy Faulkner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Recent research into children's conceptual representation-much of it based on the so-called 'triads' task-has created a number of issues such as the age at which children become capable of representation at the superordinate level; the relative prominence of taxonomic, perceptual or thematic relations as the basis of representation; and the range of categories to which these different representations apply at different ages. In the study reported in this paper we presented children of three different ages with three types of triads designed to assess children's sensitivity to these different relations separately across ten common superordinate categories. The approach which allowed us to track preferences for perceptual, thematic and taxonomic relations simultaneously across the three age groups showed an increase in sensitivity to both thematic and taxonomic relations with age. We conclude by suggesting that these relations are part of a common representation based on patterns of covariation within (static taxonomic relations) and across (event relations) time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-102
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychology of Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1993


  • Perceptual
  • Representations
  • Taxonomic
  • Thematic
  • Triads

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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