The impact of practicing knitting at school on inference production

The impact of practicing knitting at school on inference production

First Author: Frédéric Sonnier -- Paris 8 University
Additional authors/chairs: 
Sabine Guéraud
Keywords: Inference, context, Lexical Decision, Attention, children
Abstract / Summary: 

The purpose of the presented research was to investigate the short-term impact of knitting practice at primary school on scholar performances. Two experiments were designed to evaluate whether practicing knitting beforehand allows better performances on a complex cognitive activity: inference production during reading comprehension.
In Experiment 1 off-line measure of inference production was collected from 102 4th and 5th grades pupils who regularly practice knitting at school. Participants were asked to read 32 passages that lead to the production of a specific inference or not (i.e., inference vs. control versions). At the end of each story, they had to evaluate in what extend they thought an action referring to the inference had happened on a 7-points liker scale. The task was administered following 4 twenty-minutes long activities: knitting, recess, mathematical problem solving or pixel drawing. The results indicated that children were more certain that the inferred-action had happened in the inference version than in the control version. More importantly, children who practice knitting beforehand were even more certain than children in the 3 other conditions in the inference version only. The goal of Experiment 2 was to replicate Experiment 1 with an on-line measure of inference production. The material was identical to experiment 1 except that a lexical decision task was used to evaluate inference production. Because recess, mathematical problem solving and pixel drawing activities did not differ in Experiments 1, the knitting condition was compared to the recess condition only. Participants were 52 4th and 5th grades pupils who regularly practice knitting at school. Correct RT analysis revealed a text version x activity interaction: it indicates that inference activation between the two activities differed in the inference version only. Our findings will be interpreted within both the RI-Val (Cook & O’Brien, 2015) and PET (Bohn-Gettler, 2019) framework.