Iconicity refers to the degree of resemblance between a picture and the object that it depicts. A cartoon image, for example, would have a low degree of iconicity, while a photograph would have a higher degree of iconicity. Research demonstrates that the ability to generalize from a picture
to a real object is directly related to the iconicity of the picture. In a 2008 study, different groups of children were taught the name of a novel object using pictures of the object. One group was show an actual photograph of the object, and the other group was shown a cartoon drawing of the object. When tested on their ability to attach the name they had learned from the pictures, to the real object, the children who viewed the real photograph were better able to extend the label to the real object (Ganae, Pickard, & DeLoache, 2008).
Angela Nelson received her BA and JD from UCLA where she studied and practiced behavior psychology under Dr. Ivar Lovaas, and her Ed.M. at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, with a focus on technology innovation and education. As Founder and CEO of Stages Learning Materials, Angela has created autism, special needs and early childhood curriculum products since 1997. In addition to her duties at Stages, Angela writes for multiple industry publications and does development consultation for CS4Ed Consulting Services for Education.
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