THE DEVELOPMENT OF COMPREHENSION MONITORING OF ORAL COMMUNICATION IN PRESCHOOL CHILDREN (METACOGNITION, METACOMPREHENSION)

LORETTA D BRILL, Fordham University

Abstract

This study sought to: (1) identify the presence of comprehension monitoring ability in preschool children in a referential communication situation; (2) explore the effects of a reduction of stimulus processing demands on children's ability to monitor comprehension of ambiguous messages; (3) identify indicants of comprehension monitoring and non-comprehension monitoring in preschool listeners through the use of a nonverbal measure, reaction time to messages. Male and female, low- and middle-SES children at 3, 4, and 5 years of age served as listeners. An adult speaker produced messages of varying informational adequacy.^ The results showed that the 4 and 5 year olds, but not the three year olds, exhibited evidence of effective comprehension monitoring. In line with previous findings, reduction of the processing demands of complexity of the stimulus array and degree of message ambiguity improved children's comprehension monitoring performances. No significant differences in performance were found for male versus female or low- versus middle-SES children. Analyses of the latency scores revealed that children at each of the three ages exhibited significantly longer reaction times to ambiguous than to unambiguous messages. Reaction time was found to identify a group of transitional children at each age whose longer response latencies to ambiguous messages distinguished them from subjects with good and poor comprehension monitoring ability.^ The findings demonstrated the degree to which preschool children's competence at oral comprehension monitoring is influenced by the complexity of the processing requirements of the communication task. Four-year-old children for the first time were shown to be capable of oral comprehension monitoring. With simpler stimuli, younger children might display comprehension monitoring ability. Strong individual differences were also found to exist in comprehension monitoring skill at each of the ages studied. Reaction time was found to be a more sensitive indicator of preschoolers' tentative, early comprehension monitoring responses than the use of purely verbal measures. ^

Subject Area

Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

BRILL, LORETTA D, "THE DEVELOPMENT OF COMPREHENSION MONITORING OF ORAL COMMUNICATION IN PRESCHOOL CHILDREN (METACOGNITION, METACOMPREHENSION)" (1985). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8508108.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8508108

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