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Early social experience predicts referential communicative adjustments in five-year-old children.

Stolk A, Hunnius S, Bekkering H, Toni I - PLoS ONE (2013)

Bottom Line: However, it remains largely unknown which developmental factors shape children's ability to influence the mental states of others.During an online interactive game, five-year-olds spontaneously organized their non-verbal communicative behaviors according to their beliefs about an interlocutor.These results suggest that the degree of non-familial social interaction early in life modulates the influence that children's beliefs have on their referential communicative behavior.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. a.stolk@donders.ru.nl

ABSTRACT
A large body of work has focused on children's ability to attribute mental states to other people, and whether these abilities are influenced by the extent and nature of children's social interactions. However, it remains largely unknown which developmental factors shape children's ability to influence the mental states of others. Building on the suggestion that collaborative experiences early in life might be crucial for the emergence of mental coordination abilities, here we assess the relative contribution of social exposure to familial and non-familial agents on children's communicative adjustments to their mental model of an addressee ('audience design'). During an online interactive game, five-year-olds spontaneously organized their non-verbal communicative behaviors according to their beliefs about an interlocutor. The magnitude of these communicative adjustments was predicted by the time spent at daycare, from birth until four years of age, over and above effects of familial social environment. These results suggest that the degree of non-familial social interaction early in life modulates the influence that children's beliefs have on their referential communicative behavior.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Communicative adjustments.Time spent on Target and Non-target locations (during event 2 in Figure 1B; mean ± SEM; average time per trial) by the participants as a function of presumed Addressee (Toddler, Child).
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pone-0072667-g002: Communicative adjustments.Time spent on Target and Non-target locations (during event 2 in Figure 1B; mean ± SEM; average time per trial) by the participants as a function of presumed Addressee (Toddler, Child).

Mentions: Having replicated the findings of [21] in this group of five year-olds (Figure 2), we used a multiple linear regression analysis to assess the differential contribution of familial and non-familial sources of social interactions experienced by these children in the first four years of their life. These three independent variables (i.e. parents’ level of education, years of experience with siblings, and time spent at daycare, see above) were jointly considered in the multiple regression analysis, with the degree of communicative adjustment observed in each child as dependent variable (i.e. the relative difference, [toddler – child]/[child], in time spent on Target locations between presumed toddler and child Addressee). This statistical approach allows one to make specific inferences on the inter-subject variance accounted for one variable, over and above the variance accounted by the other variables included in the multiple regression model.


Early social experience predicts referential communicative adjustments in five-year-old children.

Stolk A, Hunnius S, Bekkering H, Toni I - PLoS ONE (2013)

Communicative adjustments.Time spent on Target and Non-target locations (during event 2 in Figure 1B; mean ± SEM; average time per trial) by the participants as a function of presumed Addressee (Toddler, Child).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3757022&req=5

pone-0072667-g002: Communicative adjustments.Time spent on Target and Non-target locations (during event 2 in Figure 1B; mean ± SEM; average time per trial) by the participants as a function of presumed Addressee (Toddler, Child).
Mentions: Having replicated the findings of [21] in this group of five year-olds (Figure 2), we used a multiple linear regression analysis to assess the differential contribution of familial and non-familial sources of social interactions experienced by these children in the first four years of their life. These three independent variables (i.e. parents’ level of education, years of experience with siblings, and time spent at daycare, see above) were jointly considered in the multiple regression analysis, with the degree of communicative adjustment observed in each child as dependent variable (i.e. the relative difference, [toddler – child]/[child], in time spent on Target locations between presumed toddler and child Addressee). This statistical approach allows one to make specific inferences on the inter-subject variance accounted for one variable, over and above the variance accounted by the other variables included in the multiple regression model.

Bottom Line: However, it remains largely unknown which developmental factors shape children's ability to influence the mental states of others.During an online interactive game, five-year-olds spontaneously organized their non-verbal communicative behaviors according to their beliefs about an interlocutor.These results suggest that the degree of non-familial social interaction early in life modulates the influence that children's beliefs have on their referential communicative behavior.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. a.stolk@donders.ru.nl

ABSTRACT
A large body of work has focused on children's ability to attribute mental states to other people, and whether these abilities are influenced by the extent and nature of children's social interactions. However, it remains largely unknown which developmental factors shape children's ability to influence the mental states of others. Building on the suggestion that collaborative experiences early in life might be crucial for the emergence of mental coordination abilities, here we assess the relative contribution of social exposure to familial and non-familial agents on children's communicative adjustments to their mental model of an addressee ('audience design'). During an online interactive game, five-year-olds spontaneously organized their non-verbal communicative behaviors according to their beliefs about an interlocutor. The magnitude of these communicative adjustments was predicted by the time spent at daycare, from birth until four years of age, over and above effects of familial social environment. These results suggest that the degree of non-familial social interaction early in life modulates the influence that children's beliefs have on their referential communicative behavior.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus