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How 2;6-year-olds tailor verbal expressions to interlocutor informational needs

Abbot-Smith, Kirsten, Nurmsoo, Erika, Croll, Rebecca, Ferguson, Heather J., Forrester, Michael A. (2016) How 2;6-year-olds tailor verbal expressions to interlocutor informational needs. Journal of Child Language, 43 (6). pp. 1277-1291. ISSN 0305-0009. E-ISSN 1469-7602. (doi:10.1017/S0305000915000616) (KAR id:50703)

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Although preschoolers are pervasively under-informative in their actual usage of verbal reference, a number of studies have shown that they nonetheless demonstrate sensitivity to listener informational needs, at least when environmental cues to this are obvious. We investigated two issues. The first concerned the types of visual cues to interlocutor informational needs which 2;6-year-olds can process whilst producing complex referring expressions. The second was whether performance in experimental tasks related to naturalistic conversational proficiency. We found 2;6-year-olds used fewer complex expressions when the objects were dissimilar compared to highly similar objects, indicating that they tailor their verbal expressions to the informational needs of another person, even when the cue to the informational need is relatively opaque. We also found a correlation between conversational skills as rated by the parents and the degree to which 2;6-year-olds could learn from feedback to produce complex referring expressions.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1017/S0305000915000616
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Kirsten Abbot-Smith
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2015 09:05 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:28 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Abbot-Smith, Kirsten:
Nurmsoo, Erika:
Ferguson, Heather J.:
Forrester, Michael A.:
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