Network representation of a child's dinosaur knowledge

Michelene T. Chi, Randi D. Koeske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

277 Scopus citations


A 4-yr-old male's knowledge of 40 dinosaurs was elicited from 2 tasks. The data gathered from these knowledge-production protocols were used to map 2 interrelated semantic networks of dinosaurs, viewed as concept nodes connected by links. The 2 mappings corresponded to 2 sets of dinosaurs (20 each), partitioned on the basis of external criteria: mother's subjective judgment of the S's knowledge of each dinosaur and the frequency of mention in the S's dinosaur books. Comparisons of the structure of the 2 mappings were based on 3 attributes: (a) number of links, (b) strength of links, and (c) the internal cohesion of the network in terms of higher-order groupings and specific patterns of interlinkages. The validity of the differential structures of the 2 mappings was verified by the corresponding differential memory performance. The better structured set of dinosaurs was more easily remembered and retained by the S over a year than the less structured set of dinosaurs. (28 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-39
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1983
Externally publishedYes


  • semantic network &
  • structure of dinosaur knowledge, 4 yr old male

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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