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Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 489–508 | Cite as

The development of referential communication skills: Some situations in which speakers give redundant messages

  • Susan Sonnenschein
Article

Abstract

Although theorists disagree as to the source of young children's communicative deficits, there is general agreement about there being a developmental increase in the production of informative communications. However, researchers typically have not studied different types of informative messages but have treated what is a category of message types as if it were one type. The problems in doing this become apparent when one considers research on listening skills which indicates that different types of informative messages are effective in different situations. Comparable findings might occur with speaking skills. That is, speakers might vary the type of informative message to be congruent with situational demands. These two studies investigated developmental and contextual changes in the production of redundant messages (including more than the minimal necessary to be informative) a type often used by speakers. First-and fifth-graders in Experiment I described one of several groups of pictures so that a fictitious peer listener would be able to select it. Of interest were the type of redundancy used and whether usage differed as a function of various task factors known to affect listening performance. The data indicated that fifth-graders, but not first-graders, use verbal redundancy in a manner indicating their sensitivity to various task demands. The data from Experiment II suggest that first-graders fail to give redundant messages because they do not realize that redundancy, in certain cases, will help their listeners. Discussion focuses on the importance of considering different types of informative messages within the context of specific task demands.

Keywords

Young Child Communication Skill Specific Task Task Demand Contextual Change 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Sonnenschein
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Maryland Baltimore CountyCatonsville

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