Thanks to Heather Pelton for running participants; to Carol Lee, Garrett Work, Shawn Walker, and Jordan Danly for providing voices; to Roger Levy for suggesting Experiment 5; and a big thank you to the children, parents, and preschool teachers and directors who made this research possible.
Preschoolers’ Use of Talker Information in On-Line Comprehension
Article first published online: 16 JUL 2012
© 2012 The Author. Child Development © 2012 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.
Volume 83, Issue 6, pages 2042–2056, November/December 2012
How to Cite
Creel, S. C. (2012), Preschoolers’ Use of Talker Information in On-Line Comprehension. Child Development, 83: 2042–2056. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01816.x
- Issue published online: 16 NOV 2012
- Article first published online: 16 JUL 2012
A crucial part of language development is learning how various social and contextual language-external factors constrain an utterance’s meaning. This learning process is poorly understood. Five experiments addressed one hundred thirty-one 3- to 5-year-old children’s use of one such socially relevant information source: talker characteristics. Participants learned 2 characters’ favorite colors; then, those characters asked participants to select colored shapes, as eye movements were tracked. Results suggest that by preschool, children use voice characteristics predictively to constrain a talker’s domain of reference, visually fixating the talker’s preferred color shapes. Indicating flexibility, children used talker information when the talker made a request for herself but not when she made a request for the other character. Children’s ease at using voice characteristics and possible developmental changes are discussed.