London, March 26 ANI | 8 months ago

Researchers have warned against teaching children about the real world with books that feature animals with human characteristics, as it not only leads to less factual learning and influences their reasoning about animals.

Scientists at University of Toronto also found that young readers are more likely to attribute human behaviors and emotions to animals when exposed to books with anthropomorphized animals than books depicting animals realistically.

Lead author Patricia Ganea, Assistant Professor at the university, said that books that portray animals realistically lead to more learning and more accurate biological understanding.

"We were surprised to find that even the older children in our study were sensitive to the anthropocentric portrayals of animals in the books and attributed more human characteristics to animals after being exposed to fantastical books than after being exposed to realistic books," she said.

The researchers advise parents and teachers to consider using a variety of informational and nonfiction books, and to use factual language when describing the biological world to young children.

The study is published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

(Posted on 26-03-2014)

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