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ERIC Number: EJ1071744
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 25
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1547-5441
Frequency and Informativeness of Gestural Cues Accompanying Generic and Particular Reference
Meyer, Meredith; Gelman, Susan A.; Stilwell, Sarah M.
Language Learning and Development, v11 n4 p285-309 2015
Generic noun phrases, or generics, refer to abstract categories ("Dogs" bark) rather than particular individuals ("Those dogs" bark). Study 1 investigated how parents use gestures in association with generic versus particular reference during naturalistic interactions with their 2- and 3-year-old children. Parents provided deictic gestures more frequently during particular reference, whereas no type of gesture was promoted by generic reference. Study 2 assessed the informativeness of parents' gestures. Undergraduate students watched silent clips of the parent-child interactions and guessed what parents were discussing. Participants were unable to make use of parents' gestures to reliably detect generic reference, though they were able to use gestural information to detect particular reference in contexts featuring multiple possible referents. We suggest that generics cannot be acquired via associative processes and discuss alternative accounts of acquiring the distinction between generic and particular.
Psychology Press. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: BCS-0817128