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ERIC Number: ED202232
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Oct
The Effect of Context on Mother-Child Interaction: Interactional Channel Selection for the Viewing Audience.
Graves, Zoe R.
Twenty dyads--ten middle-class mothers and ten lower-class mothers and their two-year-old children--were videotaped in a play situation. Variables in speech and utterance production were examined for change across condition (awareness or ignorance of being observed) and across socioeconomic class within condition. The number of utterances was significantly greater in the observed condition for both classes. Utterance length of mothers was found to be not only lower than for speech directed toward an adult listener, but to be context sensitive as well. In the observed condition, middle-class mothers' speech was consistently shorter than in the unobserved condition; for lower-class mothers, this relationship was reversed. Both classes of mothers increased gestural production and asked more questions in the observed condition. Socioeconomic status affected the production of several syntactic forms, as well as the distribution of utterances across pragmatic categories. Naming and action games increased in the observed condition for both classes, as did overall interaction; aspects of gaming and interaction were also found to be class-sensitive. These findings call into question the traditional literature on the representativeness of data across contexts and on the relationship of socioeconomic class and effectiveness of maternal teaching. (JB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (5th, Boston, MA, October 1980).