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A Developmental Lexical Bias in the Interpretation of Discrepant Messages

Margaret Friend and Judith Becker Bryant
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly
Vol. 46, No. 2 (April 2000), pp. 342-369
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23093720
Page Count: 28
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
A Developmental Lexical Bias in the Interpretation of Discrepant Messages
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Abstract

Children's interpretations of lexical and vocal cues to speaker affect, independently and in combination, were examined in four studies. In Experiments 1 and 2, 7- to 11-year-olds' judgments of lexical and paralinguistic cues were evaluated. In Experiment 3, these cues were combined to produce consistent and discrepant messages. The affective interpretations of 7- to 10-year-olds reflected a weighted-averaging strategy favoring the affect conveyed lexically. In Experiment 4, the developmental trajectory of children's interpretations of discrepancy from 4 to 10 years of age was investigated. Both 4- and 7-year-olds appeared to use a weighted-averaging strategy favoring lexical content, whereas 10-year-olds utilized a strategy favoring paralanguage.

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