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Inference and childrens comprehension of pronouns

, : Inference and childrens comprehension of pronouns. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 32(2): 264-278

Two experiments are reported that investigate the ability of 5 yr olds to determine the reference of anaphoric pronouns. Children have problems coping with more than 1 pronoun in a sentence and if they have to draw an inference to define the reference of a pronoun. The difficulty in assigning reference is not due to children merely forgetting the premise information but is due to the difficulty of carrying out the inference. Some of the children may be using a syntactically oriented rule (that the pronoun should be assigned to a noun phrase that has a parallel function in the previous sentence) and may not be drawing the appropriate inferences.


DOI: 10.1016/0022-0965(81)90080-1

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