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ERIC Number: EJ810811
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jul
Pages: 29
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 46
ISSN: ISSN-1524-8372
Eye Gaze Provides a Window on Children's Understanding of Verbal Irony
Climie, Emma A.; Pexman, Penny M.
Journal of Cognition and Development, v9 n3 p257-285 Jul 2008
We investigated how children solve the interpretive problem of verbal irony. Children 5 to 8 years of age and a group of adults were presented with ironic and literal remarks in the context of short puppet shows. The speaker puppet's personality was manipulated as a cue to intent; that is, speakers were described as funny or serious. We measured all participants' interpretations of the remarks and also children's eye gaze and response latencies as they made their interpretations. As expected, children were less accurate than adults in their judgments of speaker intent. Although children took longer to judge speaker intent for ironic remarks than literal remarks, eye gaze data showed no evidence that children had a literal-first bias in their processing of ironic language. Instead, children's eye gaze behavior suggested that they considered an ironic interpretation even in the earliest moments of processing. We argue that these results are most consistent with a parallel constraint satisfaction framework for irony comprehension. (Contains 2 figures and 5 tables.)
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
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A