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Academic Paper

Title: What Hinders Child Semantic Computation: Children's Universal Quantification and the Development of Cognitive Control
Author: Utako Minai
Institution: University of Kansas
Author: Nobuyuki Jincho
Institution: RIKEN Brain Science Institute
Author: Naoto Yamane
Institution: RIKEN Brain Science Institute
Author: Reiko Mazuka
Institution: Duke University
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.


This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 39, Issue 5, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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