Children's failure to communicate: An assessment of comparison and egocentrism explanations
Studied 2 possible explanations of why many young children communicate poorly on tasks that require them to discriminate referents from nonreferents: (a) poor communicators do not compare the associative strength of potential messages to the referent and nonreferent or (b) poor communicators engage in an egocentric form of comparison activity such that their messages have private but not public meaning. The latter implies that children who communicate poorly to another person could make effective use of their own messages. To examine these explanations, 64 good and poor communicators from grades 3 and 5 were asked to identify referents from their own messages. Ss who communicated poorly were also less effective than good communicators on the self-communication task. Data suggest that poor communicators do not engage in comparison activity even for their own private understanding.