ERIC Number: ED171418
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Elicited Role-Play of Commands and Requests.
Strage, Amy; And Others
Children's ability to understand the implied messages in indirect speech was investigated using a role play elicitation task. Subjects were asked to complete story endings using puppets for several scenerios involving a mother and her four children. In each of the stories the mother gives an indirect directive which is supposed to get the children to either stop doing something naughty or to help her do something. In addition, there were two control conditions, one in which the mother remained silent, the other in which the mother could not see the children. It was found that several properties of the role play task itself confounded the children's responses: (1) given the opportunity to build stories, older children tended to make exciting endings rather than follow predictable scripts; (2) children interpreted the scenerios in terms of their own personal experiences and would not engage the puppets in behavior they were unfamiliar with or considered inappropriate; (3) the more routinized the context of the scenerio, the less attention the child needed to give to the verbal directive in order to figure out what was expected of the characters in the story; and (4) it could not be determined whether the mother's indirect directive served to draw the child's attention to the problem that needed to be resolved, or whether the child was processing the intent of the mother's directive. Because of these problems, it was concluded that the role play technique was not suitable for studying children's understanding of indirect speech, and it was suggested that future studies using this technique anticipate the problems encountered in the present study. (Author/SS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Mental Health (DHEW), Rockville, MD.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Indirect Speech
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (San Francisco, California, March 15-18, 1979)