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ERIC Number: ED134957
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1976
Reference Count: 0
Children's Comprehension of Referential Communication: Decoding Ambiguous Messages.
Bearison, David J.; Levey, Linda M.
A sample of 90 children drawn from kindergarten, second grade, and fourth grade participated in a study of ability to decode ambiguous and unambiguous verbal messages. Subjects were read 12 message stems, each followed by a question pertaining to the contents of the stem. For half of the messages, the meaning of the questions was unambiguous; for the other half, the questions contained pronouns without specified referents. Subjects were asked to judge whether a question was a "good" one, to answer the "good" questions, and to explain what was wrong with the "bad" questions. Results indicated that children's ability to distinguish between adequate and inadequate communication increased with age. Kindergarten children, significantly more than second or fourth graders, constructed meaningful sentences when the meaning was objectively ambiguous. They did this by selecting referents for pronouns in conditions in which no referents were specified. (AA)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association (47th, New York, New York, April 22-24, 1976)