Preschoolers' communication during scripted interactions

Katherine J. Short-Meyerson, Leonard J Abbeduto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The communicative interactions of 15 dyads of four- to five-year-olds during pretend play involving routine, or scripted, events were investigated as a function of the children's knowledge of the scripts. Measures of the quantity and quality of interaction and the strategies that the children used to establish mutual knowledge (i.e. assess and adapt to their discourse partner's level of expertise), which is essential to good communication, were examined. Each dyad participated in a MATCHED condition (both members had extensive knowledge of the script) and a MISMATCHED condition (one member had extensive script knowledge and the other did not). Shared script knowledge facilitated communicative interactions, as indicated by more topic maintenance and fewer requests for clarification in the matched condition than in the mismatched condition. The children attempted to establish mutual knowledge more frequently in the mismatched condition than in the matched condition and, moreover, mutual knowledge establishment was related to the children's communicative effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-493
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Child Language
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Psychology(all)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


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