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Individual differences in children's pragmatic ability: a review of associations with formal language, social cognition, and executive functions

Matthews, Danielle, Biney, Hannah, Abbot-Smith, Kirsten (2018) Individual differences in children's pragmatic ability: a review of associations with formal language, social cognition, and executive functions. Language Learning and Development, 14 (3). pp. 186-223. ISSN 1547-5441. (doi:10.1080/15475441.2018.1455584) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:66633)

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Children vary in their ability to use language in social contexts and this has important consequences for wellbeing. We review studies that test whether individual differences in pragmatic skill are associated with formal language ability, mentalising and executive functions in both typical and atypical development. The strongest and most consistent associations found were between pragmatic and formal language. Additional associations with mentalising were observed, particularly with discourse contingency and irony understanding. Fewer studies considered executive function and evidence is mixed. To make progress, high-quality studies of specific pragmatic skills are needed to test mechanistic models of development. We propose 6 goals for future research: 1) developing an empirically-based taxonomy of pragmatic skills; 2) establishing which skills matter most for everyday functioning; 3) testing specific hypotheses about information processing; 4) augmenting measures of individual differences; 5) considering a broader set of psychological associates; 6) employing statistical tools that model the nested structure of pragmatics and cognition.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/15475441.2018.1455584
Uncontrolled keywords: Pragmatics; Children; Conversation; Non-literal language; Referential Communication; Atypical; Typical; Social communication; Theory of Mind; Inhibitory Control; Working memory; Set shifting
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF41 Psychology and philosophy
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Kirsten Abbot-Smith
Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2018 20:18 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 17:59 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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Abbot-Smith, Kirsten.

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