An individual differences perspective on pragmatic abilities in the preschool years.
Pragmatic abilities are fundamental to successful language use and learning. Individual differences studies contribute to understanding the psychological processes involved in pragmatic reasoning. Small sample sizes, insufficient measurement tools, and a lack of theoretical precision have hindered progress, however. Three studies addressed these challenges in three- to 5-year-old German-speaking children (N = 228, 121 female). Studies 1 and 2 assessed the psychometric properties of six pragmatics tasks. Study 3 investigated relations among pragmatics tasks and between pragmatics and other cognitive abilities. The tasks were found to measure stable variation between individuals. Via a computational cognitive model, individual differences were traced back to a latent pragmatics construct. This presents the basis for understanding the relations between pragmatics and other cognitive abilities. RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS: Individual differences in pragmatic abilities are important to understanding variation in language development. Research in this domain lacks a precise theoretical framework and psychometrically high-quality measures. We present six tasks capturing a wide range of pragmatic abilities with excellent re-test reliability. We use a computational cognitive model to provide a substantive theory of individual differences in pragmatic abilities.更多
cognitive modeling,individual differences,language development,pragmatics