Text Perception in Elderly People and Preschool Children: Reconciling the Meanings

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Abstract

The paper aims to explore the similarities and differences in text perception of elderly people and preschool children. The sample consisted both of socially well adjusted subjects and socially deprived ones living in shelters and orphanages; the control group consisted of young people. The study involved 60 subjects, 20 in each age group. The procedure was as follows: a short story by Konstantin Paustovsky, "The Old Cook", was read aloud to each subject, and a semi structured interview was carried out afterwards. The outcomes of the study indicate that comprehension and emotional responses in elderly people were similar to the ones in preschool children. Furthermore, the existential meanings grasped by the subjects proved to be quite similar between the groups as well. Children tend to sort out and generate meanings according to their immediate, vivid perception and feelings. As for the elderly, they can be characterized by postmediated immediacy. Finally, perception of persons in the control group was mediated and even estranged from the meaning of the story.

General Information

Keywords: childhood, old age, orphans, loneliness, meaning, death, 'feeling into', perezhivanie, immediacy, centration, decentration, postmediated immediacy

Journal rubric: Developmental Psychology

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Belostotskaya D.I., Zinchenko V.P. Text Perception in Elderly People and Preschool Children: Reconciling the Meanings. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2012. Vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 49–59. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)

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Information About the Authors

Daria I. Belostotskaya, PhD student at the Faculty of Psychology, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia

Vladimir P. Zinchenko, Doctor of Psychology, Russian Academy of Sciences (PI RAS), Moscow, Russia

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