What’s mine is mine: twelve-month-olds use possessive pronouns to identify referents



This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Erratum Volume 16, Issue 2, 325, Article first published online: 23 February 2013

Megan Saylor, 230 Appleton Place, GPC 552, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37203, USA; e-mail: m.saylor@vanderbilt.edu


This research investigated 12-month-olds’ ability to use person-specific language to determine to which of several absent things a person is referring. Infants were introduced to two experimenters who played separately with a different ball. One researcher asked infants to retrieve her object when both balls were hidden. Infants selected the correct object when researchers used the pronoun my, but failed to do so when the was used. The present research provides the first evidence of 12-month-olds’ comprehension of possessive pronouns and indicates that infants use person-specific language to resolve reference.