ERIC Number: ED160196
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Communication Among Children: The Role of the Listener.
Massad, Christopher M.; Patterson, Charlotte J.
This research study examined the hypothesis that listener behavior could influence the performance of young speaker-listener pairs in referential communication tasks. (In referential communication, a speaker attempts to describe a target referent in such a way that a listener can pick it out from an array of potential referents.) Subjects were 28 first graders and 24 kindergartners from a predominantly middle class public elementary school. Sixteen sets of cards were placed in front of both speakers and listener. The speaker produced a message and the listener made a choice among the referents. Half the listeners were given a plan for effective listening, which emphasized asking questions to help them figure out the right answer. Each pair of children participated in 16 trials. Results indicate that listeners may not only play an important role in determining the success of referential communication among children but may also teach speakers to function more effectively (an interactive process). Listeners in the plan condition were more likely to ask more questions, receive more information, and make more correct referent choices. Speakers in the plan condition named more crucial attributes in their final messages than did speakers in the no-plan condition, and tended to provide more adequate initial messages for trials 12-16. (SE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Filmed from best available copy; Paper presented at the Biennial Southeastern Conference on Human Development (5th, Atlanta, Georgia, April 27-29, 1978)