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Research Article Open Access
Objective: Children organize their conceptual knowledge in different ways such as thematic and taxonomic organization. When concepts are linked by cross-categorical relations, they are said to be thematically related. This study attempts to investigate the development of different types of thematic relations such as spatial-temporalfunctional relations and causal relations in Kannada speaking typical children. Method: A total of 216 typically developing children between age group of 2-4 years speaking Kannada were selected for the study. Match to sample task using picture stimuli were administered to assess spatial-temporalfunctional relations and causal types of thematic relations. The match to sample task included one standard and four choice responses, one of which was a thematic match (either spatial and/or temporal and/or functionally related match or a causal match depending on the test carried out) to the test stimuli. Responses of the children were analyzed using a four point rating scale. Results: Results revealed that appreciation of spatial-temporal-functional and causal types of thematic relations emerges in children as young as 2 years of age and broadens with increase in age to 3-4 years. Gender effect was not significant in both these tasks. There was no significant difference found in the performance of children between test for spatial-temporal-functional relations and test for causal relations. Conclusion: The results of present study demonstrate that thematic relations in specific spatial-temporalfunctional relations and causal relations show a similar pattern of developmental trend in preschool children of 2-4 years of age. In addition they are found to be one of the important types of organizational strategies used by 2-4 years children to conceptual world knowledge and thus play a key role in language acquisition.
Thematic relations, Spatial-temporal-functional relations, Causal relations, Conceptual organization, Language acquisition, Communication Disorders