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Who Is He? Children with ASD and ADHD Take the Listener into Account in Their Production of Ambiguous Pronouns.

Kuijper SJ, Hartman CA, Hendriks P - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: We found support for the view that speakers take the listener into account when choosing a referring expression: Theory of Mind was related to referential choice only at those moments when speakers could not solely base their choice on their own discourse representation to be understood.Furthermore, we found that TD children as well as children with ASD and children with ADHD took the listener into account in their choice of referring expression.The previously observed problems with referential choice in children with ASD may lie in difficulties in keeping track of longer and more complex discourses, rather than in problems with taking into account the listener.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Center for Language and Cognition Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
During conversation, speakers constantly make choices about how specific they wish to be in their use of referring expressions. In the present study we investigate whether speakers take the listener into account or whether they base their referential choices solely on their own representation of the discourse. We do this by examining the cognitive mechanisms that underlie the choice of referring expression at different discourse moments. Furthermore, we provide insights into how children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) use referring expressions and whether their use differs from that of typically developing (TD) children. Children between 6 and 12 years old (ASD: n=46; ADHD: n=37; TD: n=38) were tested on their production of referring expressions and on Theory of Mind, response inhibition and working memory. We found support for the view that speakers take the listener into account when choosing a referring expression: Theory of Mind was related to referential choice only at those moments when speakers could not solely base their choice on their own discourse representation to be understood. Working memory appeared to be involved in keeping track of the different referents in the discourse. Furthermore, we found that TD children as well as children with ASD and children with ADHD took the listener into account in their choice of referring expression. In addition, children with ADHD were less specific than TD children in contexts with more than one referent. The previously observed problems with referential choice in children with ASD may lie in difficulties in keeping track of longer and more complex discourses, rather than in problems with taking into account the listener.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Example of storybook.Example of a storybook of the Reference Production Task. Each picture was shown on a separate page.
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pone.0132408.g001: Example of storybook.Example of a storybook of the Reference Production Task. Each picture was shown on a separate page.

Mentions: We used the reference production task from Hendriks et al. [4] that consisted of four storybooks containing six pictures each (see [43] for examples of the materials). Each picture was on a separate page. The four storybooks were constructed in the same way (Fig 1): in the first two pictures, one character was present, to prompt the introduction of a new character and the maintained reference to this character. We expected participants to introduce this character with a full NP (e.g., ‘the pirate’ or ‘a pirate’). To maintain reference to this character, we expected participants to mainly use pronouns. In the third picture a second character entered the story. In the fourth and fifth pictures, this character performed an action, in order to prompt the introduction of and maintained reference to the second character and thus a topic shift from the first to the second character. We expected that the second character would be introduced with a full NP. We expected participants to use either a pronoun or a full NP to maintain reference to this second character [4,17]. In the final picture, only the first character was present, to elicit the reintroduction of this character. We expected children who are able to take into account the listener’s perspective to reintroduce this character with a full NP. Contrastively, we expected children who have difficulties with taking into account another person’s perspective to refer to this character with a pronoun. In each story the two characters had the same gender. To ensure that the gender of the characters was clear to the children, we chose characters with stereotypical gender roles (e.g., fairy, princess, knight and pirate).


Who Is He? Children with ASD and ADHD Take the Listener into Account in Their Production of Ambiguous Pronouns.

Kuijper SJ, Hartman CA, Hendriks P - PLoS ONE (2015)

Example of storybook.Example of a storybook of the Reference Production Task. Each picture was shown on a separate page.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4492581&req=5

pone.0132408.g001: Example of storybook.Example of a storybook of the Reference Production Task. Each picture was shown on a separate page.
Mentions: We used the reference production task from Hendriks et al. [4] that consisted of four storybooks containing six pictures each (see [43] for examples of the materials). Each picture was on a separate page. The four storybooks were constructed in the same way (Fig 1): in the first two pictures, one character was present, to prompt the introduction of a new character and the maintained reference to this character. We expected participants to introduce this character with a full NP (e.g., ‘the pirate’ or ‘a pirate’). To maintain reference to this character, we expected participants to mainly use pronouns. In the third picture a second character entered the story. In the fourth and fifth pictures, this character performed an action, in order to prompt the introduction of and maintained reference to the second character and thus a topic shift from the first to the second character. We expected that the second character would be introduced with a full NP. We expected participants to use either a pronoun or a full NP to maintain reference to this second character [4,17]. In the final picture, only the first character was present, to elicit the reintroduction of this character. We expected children who are able to take into account the listener’s perspective to reintroduce this character with a full NP. Contrastively, we expected children who have difficulties with taking into account another person’s perspective to refer to this character with a pronoun. In each story the two characters had the same gender. To ensure that the gender of the characters was clear to the children, we chose characters with stereotypical gender roles (e.g., fairy, princess, knight and pirate).

Bottom Line: We found support for the view that speakers take the listener into account when choosing a referring expression: Theory of Mind was related to referential choice only at those moments when speakers could not solely base their choice on their own discourse representation to be understood.Furthermore, we found that TD children as well as children with ASD and children with ADHD took the listener into account in their choice of referring expression.The previously observed problems with referential choice in children with ASD may lie in difficulties in keeping track of longer and more complex discourses, rather than in problems with taking into account the listener.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Center for Language and Cognition Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
During conversation, speakers constantly make choices about how specific they wish to be in their use of referring expressions. In the present study we investigate whether speakers take the listener into account or whether they base their referential choices solely on their own representation of the discourse. We do this by examining the cognitive mechanisms that underlie the choice of referring expression at different discourse moments. Furthermore, we provide insights into how children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) use referring expressions and whether their use differs from that of typically developing (TD) children. Children between 6 and 12 years old (ASD: n=46; ADHD: n=37; TD: n=38) were tested on their production of referring expressions and on Theory of Mind, response inhibition and working memory. We found support for the view that speakers take the listener into account when choosing a referring expression: Theory of Mind was related to referential choice only at those moments when speakers could not solely base their choice on their own discourse representation to be understood. Working memory appeared to be involved in keeping track of the different referents in the discourse. Furthermore, we found that TD children as well as children with ASD and children with ADHD took the listener into account in their choice of referring expression. In addition, children with ADHD were less specific than TD children in contexts with more than one referent. The previously observed problems with referential choice in children with ASD may lie in difficulties in keeping track of longer and more complex discourses, rather than in problems with taking into account the listener.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus