Development of answers and explanations to contextually demanding questions: a study of three- to nine-year-old Finnish children
This paper presents some findings about studies investigating how children's ability to answer pragmatically demanding questions and explain their correct answers develops between the ages of 3 and 9 years in Finnish children (Loukusa, 2007; Loukusa, Leinonen & Ryder, 2007; Loukusa, Ryder, & Leinonen, in press). In this paper we summarize the results concerning questions demanding processing of implicatures, routines and feelings. The results of these studies showed that the largest increase in answers to routine and implicature questions occurred between the ages of three and four. In feeling questions rapid development occurred between ages of three and five. After that development progressed more gradually until the age of eight when the children performed near the ceiling level in all of the question types. Giving explanations for correct answers developed gradually between the ages of three and nine which indicated that becoming aware of the information used in inference has a longer developmental timeframe.