Contextual information and temporal terms

Paul Gorrell, Stephen Crain, Janet Dean Fodor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


We report an experiment designed to identify how contextual information can influence children's performance on an experimental task involving temporal terms. Crain (1982) reported improved performance on a comprehension task when subjects were provided with contextual information, and he suggested that the improvement was due to satisfaction of presuppositions. However, this contextual information might have served to simplify task demands by providing prior information concerning an important aspect of the task. The present study distinguishes these factors by incorporating contextual information into the subordinate clause of the test sentences in a comprehension experiment (to satisfy presupposions) or into the main clause (to provide comparable prior information without satisfying presuppositions). We conclude that contextual information results in a significant improvement only when such information can be used to satisfy presuppositions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-632
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Child Language
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes


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