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Interactional training interventions boost children’s expressive pragmatic abilities: Evidence from a novel multidimensional testing approach


Pronina, Mariia; Hübscher, Iris; Holler, Judith; Prieto, Pilar (2021). Interactional training interventions boost children’s expressive pragmatic abilities: Evidence from a novel multidimensional testing approach. Cognitive Development, 57(1/3):101003.

Abstract

This study investigates the effectiveness of training preschoolers in order to enhance their social cognition and pragmatic skills. Eighty-three 3–4-year-olds were divided into three groups and listened to stories enriched with mental state terms. Then, whereas the control group engaged in non-reflective activities, the two experimental groups were guided by a trainer to reflect on mental states depicted in the stories. In one of these groups, the children were prompted to not only talk about these states but also “embody” them through prosodic and gestural cues. Results showed that while there were no significant effects on Theory of Mind, emotion understanding, and mental state verb comprehension, the experimental groups significantly improved their pragmatic skill scores pretest-to-posttest. These results suggest that interactional interventions can contribute to preschoolers’ pragmatic development, demonstrate the value of the new embodied training, and highlight the importance of multidimensional testing for the evaluation of intervention effects.

Abstract

This study investigates the effectiveness of training preschoolers in order to enhance their social cognition and pragmatic skills. Eighty-three 3–4-year-olds were divided into three groups and listened to stories enriched with mental state terms. Then, whereas the control group engaged in non-reflective activities, the two experimental groups were guided by a trainer to reflect on mental states depicted in the stories. In one of these groups, the children were prompted to not only talk about these states but also “embody” them through prosodic and gestural cues. Results showed that while there were no significant effects on Theory of Mind, emotion understanding, and mental state verb comprehension, the experimental groups significantly improved their pragmatic skill scores pretest-to-posttest. These results suggest that interactional interventions can contribute to preschoolers’ pragmatic development, demonstrate the value of the new embodied training, and highlight the importance of multidimensional testing for the evaluation of intervention effects.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:08 Research Priority Programs > Language and Space
Dewey Decimal Classification:400 Language
410 Linguistics
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
Social Sciences & Humanities > Developmental and Educational Psychology
Language:English
Date:2021
Deposited On:09 Feb 2021 16:44
Last Modified:10 Feb 2021 21:01
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0885-2014
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogdev.2020.101003

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