What hinders child semantic computation: Children's universal quantification and the development of cognitive control

Utako Minai, Nobuyuki Jincho, Naoto Yamane, Reiko Mazuka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


Recent studies on the acquisition of semantics have argued that knowledge of the universal quantifier is adult-like throughout development. However, there are domains where children still exhibit non-adult-like universal quantification, and arguments for the early mastery of relevant semantic knowledge do not explain what causes such non-adult-like interpretations. The present study investigates Japanese four- and five-year-old children's atypical universal quantification in light of the development of cognitive control. We hypothesized that children's still-developing cognitive control contributes to their atypical universal quantification. Using a combined eye-tracking and interpretation task together with a non-linguistic measure of cognitive control, we revealed a link between the achievement of adult-like universal quantification and the development of flexible perspective-switch. We argue that the development of cognitive control is one of the factors that contribute to children's processing of semantics. ©

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)919-956
Number of pages38
JournalJournal of Child Language
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Nov
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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