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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Authors

Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

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 throughout childhood to adolescence until adulthood. The current 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 that 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, with 10-year-olds generally committing fewer egocentric errors compared with 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.

Bibliographic note

Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-149
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Volume174
Early online date22 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

Keywords

  • common ground, theory of mind, perspective taking, cognitive factors, age-related development;, referential communication