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Seven-year-olds’ imaginative engagement with play in non-virtual and virtual contexts

Hashmi, Salim 2018. Seven-year-olds’ imaginative engagement with play in non-virtual and virtual contexts. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This thesis focuses on the imaginative activities that are present in middle childhood, and how children engage in the fictional worlds created during play in non-virtual and virtual activities. This was investigated in the context of the Cardiff Child Development Study, a UK-based prospective longitudinal study of first-born children. In Chapter 3, I analysed questionnaire data on children’s play activities. The children were reported by caregivers’ as enjoying a variety of playful and imaginative activities, including activities previously considered to be absent at this age, or neglected in previous research. Gender differences were reported for some activities, supporting those found in existing literature. In Chapters 4 and 5, I developed coding schemes of children’s engagement with the fictional world (play frame) created when children played with Playmobil figures, and their immersion in the virtual world of a bespoke video game. Children’s engagement with the play frame was considered to be in the role of an actor, manager, or narrator of the play. Children’s engagement with the video game was considered to reflect their immersive engagement with the virtual world or functional engagement with the mechanics of the game. Boys were more engaged in the role of an actor in the play frame and more immersed with the virtual world than girls. In Chapter 6, I examined links between the virtual and non-virtual tasks. Positive associations were found between children’s engagement as an actor and their immersion, even when controlling for gender. Children’s references to the internal states of the fictional characters were also compared as an indication of their engagement with the fictional worlds, and were associated across contexts when controlling for receptive vocabulary and gender. These findings add to knowledge regarding imagination in childhood, in supporting that children’s engagement in fictional worlds represents an expression of an imaginative characteristic.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Publication
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Funders: School of Psychology
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 April 2019
Date of Acceptance: 1 April 2019
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2021 15:21

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