General programme, activity sheet

Wednesday 7 September, 2016 Poster
Person Reference and Social Understanding: Laboratory Data from Czech Toddlers
Speaker: Anna Chromá, Charles University in Prague

Authors: Anna Chromá & Filip Smolík


Personal pronouns are among the more complicated structures in young children’s language. The difficulties may rest in the linguistic as well as the social aspects of the phenomenon. For the correct use and comprehension, children need to achieve a certain level of grammatical development, and they need to understand both the difference between self and others, and the perspective of the speaker. The factors of linguistic and social development have rarely been examined together (but see Markova & Smolík, 2014). The present study examined children's performance in the production and comprehension of person reference, as well as in tasks assessing the development of social cognition and language. We expected social cognition and language to have independent relations to person reference. Our participants were typically developing 2.5-year-old Czech toddlers. So far, data from 51 children were analyzed. Social understanding was assessed using tasks that examined visual perspective, pretense and intention understanding. A lexical and a grammatical comprehension task were used as measures of general language development. Five other tasks addressed person reference production and comprehension. Our key analyses examine the effects of pretense, intention understanding and lexical development on production and comprehension of person reference. Lexicon and pretense have significant concurrent effects on the comprehension score (p<0.001, ΔR2=0.291; p<0.001, ΔR2=0.156, respectively), and lexicon, pretense and intention understanding have significant concurrent effects on the production score (p<0.001, ΔR2=0.122; p<0.001, ΔR2=0.142; p<0.001, ΔR2=0.210, respectively). The models suggest that person reference in production and comprehension is related to somewhat different sets of social cognition measures. However, both the models contain a linguistic as well as a social predictor, as hypothesized. The results thus reveal that both the linguistic factors and social development measures have independent effects on the acquisition of person reference. References Markova, G. and Smolík, F. 2014. What Do You Think? The Relationship between Person Reference and Communication about the Mind in Toddlers. Social Development 23 (1): 61–79.
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Coffee break and poster session
Place: Hall First floor area A

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