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Further Development in Social Reasoning Revealed in Discourse Irony Understanding

Eva Filippova and Janet Wilde Astington
Child Development
Vol. 79, No. 1 (Jan. - Feb., 2008), pp. 126-138
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27563471
Page Count: 13
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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.
Further Development in Social Reasoning Revealed in Discourse Irony Understanding
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Abstract

This study describes the development of social reasoning in school-age children. An irony task is used to assess 5-, 7-, and 9-year-olds' (N = 72) and adults' (N = 24) recursive understanding of others' minds. Guttman scale analysis demonstrates that in order to understand a speaker's communicative intention, a child needs to recognize the speaker's belief, the detection of which depends on the ability to identify the discrepancy between the intended and the expressed meaning. Only children who understand these aspects of mind are able to reflect on the speaker's attitude. Theory of mind and language ability make unique contributions to children's interpretation of irony over and above the impact of age and memory, but attunement to expressive prosody does not.

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