Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Children’s inference generation

Associated organisational unit

Electronic data

  • CurrieCain2015

    Rights statement: Under a Creative Commons license

    Final published version, 536 KB, PDF document

    Available under license: CC BY: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Links

Text available via DOI:

View graph of relations

Children’s inference generation: the role of vocabulary and working memory

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>09/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Volume137
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)57-75
Publication statusPublished
Early online date27/04/15
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Inferences are crucial to successful discourse comprehension. We assessed the contributions of vocabulary and working memory to inference making in children aged 5 to 6 (n=44), 7 to 8 (n=43) and 9 to 10 (n=43) years. Children listened to short narratives and answered questions to assess local and global coherence inferences after each one. ANOVA confirmed developmental improvements on both types of inference. Although standardized measures of both vocabulary and working memory were correlated with inference making, multiple regression analyses determined that vocabulary was the key predictor. For local coherence inferences, only vocabulary predicted unique variance for the 6- and 8- year-olds; in contrast, none of the variables predicted performance for the 10-year-olds. For global coherence inferences, vocabulary was the only unique predictor for each age group. Mediation analysis confirmed that, although working memory was associated with the ability to generate local and global coherence inferences in 6- to 10-year-olds, the effect was mediated by vocabulary. We conclude that vocabulary knowledge supports inference making in two ways: through knowledge of word meanings required to generate inferences and also through its contribution to memory processes.

Bibliographic note

Under a Creative Commons license