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ERIC Number: EJ1008106
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jun
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 49
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Top-Down Influence in Young Children's Linguistic Ambiguity Resolution
Rabagliati, Hugh; Pylkkanen, Liina; Marcus, Gary F.
Developmental Psychology, v49 n6 p1076-1089 Jun 2013
Language is rife with ambiguity. Do children and adults meet this challenge in similar ways? Recent work suggests that while adults resolve syntactic ambiguities by integrating a variety of cues, children are less sensitive to top-down evidence. We test whether this top-down insensitivity is specific to syntax or a general feature of children's linguistic ambiguity resolution by evaluating whether children rely largely or completely on lexical associations to resolve lexical ambiguities (e.g., the word "swing" primes the baseball meaning of "bat") or additionally integrate top-down global plausibility. Using a picture choice task, we compared 4-year-olds' ability to resolve polysemes and homophones with a Bayesian algorithm reliant purely on lexical associations and found that the algorithm's power to predict children's choices was limited. A 2nd experiment confirmed that children override associations and integrate top-down plausibility. We discuss this with regard to models of psycholinguistic development. (Contains 1 table, 5 figures and 4 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A