For non-scalar expressions, the distribution was 12, 2 and 6 resp

For non-scalar expressions, the distribution was 12, 2 and 6 respectively. This classification reveals that the majority (17 and 18

out of 20 children for scalars and non-scalars Vorinostat cost respectively) were consistent in their behaviour (either informative or underinformative). This finding is in line with the participant distributions reported by Guasti et al. (2005) for children and Bott and Noveck (2004) for adults for the scalar expressions. It further justifies the conclusion that many children lack some aspect of pragmatic competence important to performing this task. Not only was there a difference at the group level between the rejection of underinformative and false utterances, but at the individual level the majority of children (13 out of 20 for scalars and 12 out of 20 for non-scalars) consistently accepted underinformative utterances. As mentioned, many adult responses did not consist of a straightforward acceptance or rejection, but were more indirect, phrased as revisions or meta-linguistic remarks. Indirect responses were obtained in the underinformative condition only, at rates of 12% and 33% for scalars and non-scalars respectively (as a proportion

of all non-acceptances). More than 90% of these indirect responses were revisions starting with ‘yes’, ‘true’ or ‘right’, followed by the informative description (either with the use of ‘but’ or ‘and’ or without any conjunction). For instance, one adult participant said “yes, he picked up all of them”, and “yes, but he also painted the heart”. The remaining indirect responses did not commit with regard to the correct binary value of the utterance (‘right’ or ‘wrong’) but included explicitly meta-linguistic remarks such as “half right, half wrong”, “I can’t really tell”,

“I don’t know”. If the indirect responses are scored as incorrect, then adult performance in the underinformative Arachidonate 15-lipoxygenase conditions falls to 88% for scalars and 67% for non-scalars. Adults are still outperforming the children for both types of expression (Mann–Whitney U: both U > 3.03, p < .001, r > .47), but there is a main effect of expression, with the adults performing higher with scalars than with non-scalars (Wilcoxon Signed Ranks test, W = 2.03, p < .05, r = .45). The presence of indirect responses in the underinformative but not in the logically false condition indicates that adults do not consider violations of informativeness to be as grave as violations of logical truth. However, no other study using a similar paradigm (e.g. Guasti et al., 2005, experiment 4; Papafragou & Musolino, 2003, both experiments) reports any indirect responses from adults. Could this mean that there is something erroneous with the task that we designed? We think this unlikely on two grounds.

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