Projects per year
When threatened with ostracism, children attempt to strengthen social relationships by engaging in affiliative behaviors such as imitation. We investigated whether an experience of ostracism influenced the extent to which children imitated a partner’s language use. In two experiments, 7-12 year-old children either experienced ostracism or did not experience ostracism in a virtual ball-throwing game before playing a picture-matching game with a partner. We measured children’s tendency to imitate, or align with, their partner’s language choices during the picture-matching game. Children showed a strong tendency to spontaneously align with their partner’s lexical and grammatical choices. Crucially, their likelihood of lexical alignment was modulated by whether they had experienced ostracism. We found no effect of ostracism on syntactic alignment. These findings offer the first demonstration that ostracism selectively influences children’s language use. They highlight the role of social-affective factors in children’s communicative development, and show that the link between ostracism and imitation is broadly based, and extends beyond motor behaviors to the domain of language.
- language imitation
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- 1 Active
Conversational alignment in children with an Autistic Spectrum Condition and typically developing children
1/04/17 → 28/02/22
- School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences - Personal Chair in Psychology of Language and Cognition
- Edinburgh Neuroscience
- Childhood & Youth
Person: Academic: Research Active