[Linguistics] Non-adult Behavior of Children’s Quantification in Logical Deduction Outside of the Language Domain (2020)

Full Paper

This was the final project for a class at MIT (24.904 - Language Acquisition).

Children in ages 4 to 6 present the exotic behavior of showing non-adult judgements of quantifiers, being specifically prone to exhaustive pairing errors. In the modern literature, the most accepted view about what factors cause this behavior suggests that pragmatical difficulties in understanding the context and the relevant objects to the sentence they need to evaluate, rather than semantic differences in the child and adult meaning of the quantifiers, are responsible for these non-adult judgements. If the factors are not semantic, but pragmatic, then we should also see the same type of non-adult judgement when children are presented with tasks that require the same type of deductive reasoning but do not involve the use of quantifiers. We propose an experiment to evaluate whether this is the case, and discuss the possible conclusions that we can draw from its results.