Mothers? descriptions of referents are related to children?s communicative competence

Yildiz E., Uzundag B. A.

COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT, vol.64, 2022 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 64
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.cogdev.2022.101258
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, PASCAL, Periodicals Index Online, Communication Abstracts, EBSCO Education Source, Educational research abstracts (ERA), Psycinfo, DIALNET
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: No


Describing an entity in a way that leads to its correct identification among similar others is required for successful referential communication. Although many studies investigated children's language development in relation to the caregiver input, whether children's referential communication skills are related to their caregivers' referential input remains understudied. The present study aimed to investigate the relationship between mothers' referential descriptions and preschool-aged children's success in describing pictures among competitors. In two separate tasks, where the goal was to describe target pictures among similar others, we assessed mothers' descriptions targeted for their children and children's descriptions targeted for the experimenter. Our results revealed that children provided more accurate initial descriptions and needed fewer attempts to describe pictures if their mothers described pictures in fewer attempts and provided clear initial descriptions when talking with their children. These findings suggest that children's referential descriptions and communicative competence benefit from hearing clear referential descriptions provided by their caregivers.