EFFECTS OF CODABILITY OF REFERENTS AND TYPE OF FEEDBACK ON REFERENTIAL COMMUNICATION PROFICIENCY IN YOUNG CHILDREN

LAURA TAPIA AITKEN, Fordham University

Abstract

Recent research on young children's proficiency in referential communication has increasingly pointed to the importance of the effects of task conditions on performance. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of two task conditions, level of codability of the referent and spoken feedback, on the accuracy and types (descriptive vs. inferential) of messages produced by young children in communicating about a referent to an adult listener.^ Seventy-two 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 year-old children from two suburban school districts were assigned to one of three feedback conditions, implicit, explicit, or no feedback. All children were required to communicate about referents at both levels of codability. The referential communication task used twelve arrays of four drawings, with one target and three non-target items in each array. Six arrays were at the high and six at the low codability level.^ Results indicated that the children were significantly more accurate when communicating about the low-codable referents than about the high-codable referents. Feedback conditions did not affect accuracy of communication. These results led to the conclusion that the children formulated informative rather than egocentric messages about low-codable referents. The findings also indicate that the number of features of the drawings and the degree of similarity among the target and non-target items in the array may contribute more to the difficulty of the task than does the level of codability of the referent. Children produced a significantly larger proportion of inferential statements in communicating about low-codable referents than they did with the high-codable. These findings suggest that referents of high and low codability can promote the use of descriptive and inferential statements respectively. Feedback condition did not affect the types of messages produced by the children.^ Supplementary analyses revealed that explicit feedback increased the total number of statements significantly compared with implicit feedback, without increasing the accuracy of communication. Implicit feedback did not result in a higher number of statements relative to no feedback, implying that implicit feedback does not promote communicative productivity and may even reduce the child's effort to communicate. ^

Subject Area

Curriculum development

Recommended Citation

AITKEN, LAURA TAPIA, "EFFECTS OF CODABILITY OF REFERENTS AND TYPE OF FEEDBACK ON REFERENTIAL COMMUNICATION PROFICIENCY IN YOUNG CHILDREN" (1982). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8213596.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8213596

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