Preschoolers’ use of questions in their joint decisions with peers

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This paper investigates how preschoolers use questions to invite their peers’ input for their joint decisions. Three- and 5-year-old dyads were asked to build a zoo and jointly decide on where to place each item. Both age groups used wh-questions predominantly with inanimate subjects, eliciting objective information (Where does this go?) and yes/no questions with animate subjects, eliciting subjective information (Do you want to put it here?). Five-year-olds used more animate subjects in their wh-questions than did 3-year-olds (Where do we place this?). Thus, preschool children phrase questions differently depending on whether they look for a subjective or an objective input from their peers. In later preschool years, they use both kinds of questions more flexibly to mark cooperative decision-making.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Environment and Cognition in Language Development
Subtitle of host publicationStudies in honor of Ayhan Aksu-Koç
EditorsNihan Ketrez, Aylin Küntay, Şeyda Özçalışkan, Aslı Özyürek
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9789027265388
ISBN (Print)9789027244116
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • peer conversations
  • joint decision making
  • questions


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