Children's inquiry strategies in referential communication and in the game of twenty questions

Courage, Mary Louise (1985) Children's inquiry strategies in referential communication and in the game of twenty questions. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

Young children typically perform inefficiently as listeners on referential communication tasks and also when playing the game of 20 questions. In both cases they guess at the identity of the target rather than adopting the more efficient strategy of asking categorical questions. Certain training procedures have been effective in improving children’s performance on both of these tasks. An experiment was conducted to test the hypothesis that under certain conditions these two tasks can be considered as a single problem in information-seeking. It was predicted that if children were trained to use a strategy of asking categorical questions either in the context of a 20 questions task or a referential listener task, that performance on the trained task would improve and would also generalize to the untrained task. Versions of the 20 questions and listener problems were designed in which the stimulus characteristics and information processing demands of the tasks were equated. 5- and 7-year-old male and female children were pretested on both tasks, trained either on the twenty questions task, the listener task, or given both types of training. A control group was given practice on the tasks. The treatment was followed by immediate and delayed posttesting on both tasks. Pretest performance was poor in both age groups, although the older children asked more categorical questions and identified more targets correctly than did the younger children. Posttest data indicated a significant improvement in performance on the trained task, as well as substantial cross-task generalization in both age groups. Except for the 5-year-old control subjects who showed very little improvement from the pretest, there was little developmental difference in performance on the 20 questions task. On the listener task, only the 5-year-olds who experienced 20 Questions training performed as well as the 7-year-olds on the posttests. It was concluded that 20 questions and listener problems can be effectively solved with the common information-seeking strategy of asking categorical questions.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5859
Item ID: 5859
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 81-93.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Psychology
Science, Faculty of > Psychology
Date: 1985
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Listening; Comprehension in children; Interpersonal communication in children; Twenty questions (Game)

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