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M. Osina1, Megan Saylor2
  • 1 Vanderbilt University, Peabody # 552, 230 Appleton Place, Nashville, TN 37203, USA
  • 2 Vanderbilt University, Peabody # 552, 230 Appleton Place, Nashville, TN 37203, USA

Infants’ Use of Intonation to Interpret Ambiguous Reference

2017. Vol. 14. No. 2. P. 236–249 [issue contents]
We investigated infants’ ability to use intonation to interpret ambiguous requests for objects. In Experiment 1, two experimenters took turns playing with infants each with her own ball. When both balls were present, one of the experimenters made an ambiguous request "Do you see it? Can you give it to me?” in either an excited or a neutral way. Twenty-month-olds were more likely to select the new than the familiar ball for the experimenter in response to the excited request. In the neutral condition, however, they did not show a significant preference for any balls. Sixteen-month-olds selected new and familiar balls at chance in both conditions. In Experiment 2, the experimenter played with 20-month-olds with an object and displayed high excitement toward it. At test, she saw a similar object and a new object, and asked infants in an excited way “Can you give it to me?” In this case excitement could be interpreted as directed toward the object similar to the one the experimenter played with before. Nevertheless, infants selected the new object at above chance levels. These findings suggest that at 20 months, infants consistently interpret excitement as indicating new things.
Citation: Osina M., Saylor M. (2017) Ispol'zovanie det'mi intonatsiy dlya interpretatsii neodnoznachnykh ukazaniy [Infants’ Use of Intonation to Interpret Ambiguous Reference]. Psychology. Journal of Higher School of Economics, vol. 14, no 2, pp. 236-249 (in Russian)
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