The cognitive demands of remembering a speaker’s perspective and managing common ground size modulate 8- and 10-year-olds’ perspective-taking abilities

Zhao, Lin and Wang, Jen Jessica and Apperly, Ian (2018) The cognitive demands of remembering a speaker’s perspective and managing common ground size modulate 8- and 10-year-olds’ perspective-taking abilities. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 174. pp. 130-149. ISSN 0022-0965

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Using “theory of mind” to successfully accommodate differing perspectives during communication requires much more than just acquiring basic theory of mind understanding. Evidence suggests that children’s ability to adopt a speaker’s perspective continues to develop through childhood to adolescence till adulthood (e.g., Dumontheil, Apperly, & Blakemore, 2010). The present study examined the cognitive factors that could account for variations in children’s abilities to use a speaker’s perspective during language comprehension, and whether the same factors contribute to age-related improvements. Our study incorporated into a commonly-used communication task two types of memory demands which are frequently present in our everyday communication but have been overlooked in the previous literature: remembering a speaker’s perspective, and the amount of common ground information. Findings from two experiments demonstrated that both 8- and 10-year-olds committed more egocentric errors when each of these memory demands was high. Our study also found some supporting evidence for the age-related improvement in children’s perspective use, as 10-year-olds generally committed fewer egocentric errors compared to 8-year-olds. Interestingly, there was no clear evidence that the memory factors that affected children’s perspective use in our experiments were also the factors that drove age-related improvement.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 174, 2018 DOI: 10.1016/j.jecp.2018.05.013
?? common groundtheory of mindperspective takingcognitive factorsage-related developmentreferential communication ??
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12 Jun 2018 13:46
Last Modified:
01 Feb 2024 00:35