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Academic Paper


Title: What Hinders Child Semantic Computation: Children's Universal Quantification and the Development of Cognitive Control
Linguistic Field: Cognitive Science; Language Acquisition
Subject Language: Japanese
Abstract: Recent studies on the acquisition of semantics have argued that knowledge of the universal quantifier is adult-like throughout development. However, there domains where children still exhibit non-adult-like universal quantification, and arguments for the early mastery of relevant semantic knowledge do not explain what causes such non-adult-like interpretations. The present study investigates Japanese four- and five-year-old children's atypical universal quantification in light of the development of cognitive control. We hypothesized that children's still-developing cognitive control contributes to their atypical universal quantification. Using a combined eye-tracking and interpretation task together with a non-linguistic measure of cognitive control, we revealed a link between the achievement of adult-like universal quantification and the development of flexible perspective-switch. We argue that the development of cognitive control is one of the factors that contribute to children's processing of semantics.

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This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 39, Issue 5.

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