ERIC Number: EJ1101169
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Abstractor: As Provided
Children's Pragmatic Inferences as a Route for Learning about the World
Horowitz, Alexandra C.; Frank, Michael C.
Child Development, v87 n3 p807-819 May-Jun 2016
This study investigated whether children can infer category properties based on how a speaker describes an individual (e.g., saying something is a "small zib" implies that zibs are generally bigger than this one). Three- to 5-year-olds (N = 264) from a university preschool and a children's museum were tested on their ability to make this sort of contrast inference. Children made some inferences from adjective choice alone (Experiment 1); performance increased as more cues to contrast were added (Experiments 2 and 3). Control studies show that these findings are not due to the particular properties used or the structure of these tasks (Experiments 4 and 5). These findings suggest that sensitivity to speakers' production choices may help children learn about the world.
Descriptors: Inferences, Cues, Performance, Task Analysis, Form Classes (Languages), Preschool Children, Museums, Control Groups, Pragmatics, Child Development
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Naval Research (ONR)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N000141310287