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Twelve- and 16-month-old infants recognize properties of mentioned absent things

, : Twelve- and 16-month-old infants recognize properties of mentioned absent things. Developmental Science 7(5): 599-611

Absent reference comprehension is a critical achievement of early development, yet little is known about its emergence. In the current study, 12- and 16-month-old infants' recognition of properties of mentioned absent things was used as an index of absent reference comprehension. Infants were presented with displays matching the color and prior spatial location of a mentioned absent object and displays matching the color and prior spatial location of a non-mentioned absent object. Infants could reveal their comprehension of absent reference by directing more looking and gesturing at the display matching the mentioned absent object than at the display matching the non-mentioned absent object. Infants at both ages revealed some tendency to do so, but infants at 16 months revealed more advanced understanding--infants at 16 months, but not at 12 months, coordinated their attention to the display matching properties of the mentioned absent thing with looks to the speaker. Implications for the infants' understanding of communicative intentions are discussed.


PMID: 15603292

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