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Project title: How negation informs action and/or label learning in infants and toddlers

Primary supervisor: Dr Elena Hoicka

Project description: A current focus in developmental psychology is how children know when to accept information (e.g., Pedagogy Theory; Generics; Trust in Testimony). However the flip side of this question has been ignored but is equally important – how do children know when not to learn. My own research has found that parents offer cues to help toddlers to ignore novel information when joking (Hoicka, Jutsum, & Gattis, 2008). In particular, they show their disbelief through language after making a joke (e.g, Ducks say moo), including using negation (Ducks don’t say moo), but also correcting children with by provided contradicting positive information (Ducks go quack). The purpose of this project is to determine how these different types of language affect children’s rejection of information.

Formal enquiries should be addressed to: Dr Elena Hoicka (e.hoicka@sheffield.ac.uk)

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