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ERIC Number: EJ991714
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0009-3920
The Development of Preschoolers' Appreciation of Communicative Ambiguity
Nilsen, Elizabeth S.; Graham, Susan A.
Child Development, v83 n4 p1400-1415 Jul-Aug 2012
Using a longitudinal design, preschoolers' appreciation of a listener's knowledge of the location of a hidden sticker after the listener was provided with an ambiguous or unambiguous description was assessed. Preschoolers (N = 34) were tested at 3 time points, each 6 months apart (4, 4 1/2, and 5 years). Eye gaze measures demonstrated that preschoolers were sensitive to communicative ambiguity, even when the situation was unambiguous from their perspective. Preschoolers' explicit evaluations of ambiguity were characterized by an initial appreciation of message "clarity" followed by an appreciation of message "ambiguity." Children's inhibitory control skills at 4 years old related to their explicit detection of ambiguity at later ages. Results are discussed in terms of the developmental progression of preschoolers' awareness of communicative ambiguity. (Contains 5 tables and 1 figure.)
Wiley-Blackwell. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8598; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test