A Study of Preschool Children's Reasoning with an Exclusive Interpretation of "Or"
Jorgensen, Katia E.
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There is a debate between psycholinguists and logicians about whether people use an exclusive or interpretation (XOR) or an inclusive or interpretation (lOR), and when an understanding of each emerges in development. In past studies the youngest participants have been 6 yrs old, therefore the present study looks at or interpretations in preschoolers ranging in ages from 3 to 6 yrs old, and at how context and negation affect or interpretations. Experiment 1, 2, and 3 had the same 35 participants, 12 3 year olds, 18 4 year olds, 4 5 year olds, and I six year old. In Experiment I participants placed toys in a basket according to a request, in Experiment 2 they watched a video of a teacher and student playing the game and decided whether the student answered correctly, and in Experiment 3 they watched a video without volume and had to decide what the teacher told the student to put in the basket. XOR was used more often than lOR in Experiment 1, whereas in Experiment 2 lOR was used more than XOR In Experiment 3 lOR was never used to describe two objects placed in the basket. A Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used to analyze the data, and showed that there was a significant difference in distribution of or interpretations according to age in Experiment I (W=. 000, p<. 05) and Experiment 2 ( W= .000, p<.OS). These experiments revealed that an understanding of or emerges at a much younger age than past research has shown.