Speech Prosody 2014

The acquisition of multimodal cues to disbelief

Meghan Armstrong, Nuria Esteve-Gibert and Pilar Prieto
In this study, we examine how 3-, 4-, and 5-year-old Catalan-acquiring children are able to make use of the audio (intonational) and visual (facial gesture) modalities in the comprehension of speaker disbelief, as well as the role of a child’s developing Theory of Mind. Our results suggest that in this case, facial gesture provides children with scaffolding for linguistic meaning. In addition, those children that passed a false belief task tended to perform better on the comprehension task in general. We discuss the implications of these findings for the study of intonational development.