Critical Thinking About Fables: Examining Language Production and Comprehension in Adolescents Purpose This study was designed primarily to determine if a critical-thinking task involving fables would elicit greater syntactic complexity than a conversational task in adolescents. Another purpose was to determine how well adolescents understand critical-thinking questions about fables. Method Forty adolescents (N = 20 boys and 20 girls; ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 2015
Critical Thinking About Fables: Examining Language Production and Comprehension in Adolescents
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Marilyn A. Nippold
    University of Oregon, Eugene
  • Megan W. Frantz-Kaspar
    University of Oregon, Eugene
  • Paige M. Cramond
    University of Oregon, Eugene
  • Cecilia Kirk
    University of Oregon, Eugene
  • Christine Hayward-Mayhew
    University of Oregon, Eugene
  • Melanie MacKinnon
    University of Oregon, Eugene
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Marilyn A. Nippold: nippold@uoregon.edu
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Sarita Eisenberg
    Associate Editor: Sarita Eisenberg×
  • This is a companion article to Nippold et al., “Conversational and Narrative Speaking in Adolescents: Examining the Use of Complex Syntax,” JSLHR, doi:10.1044/1092-4388 (2013/13-0097)
    This is a companion article to Nippold et al., “Conversational and Narrative Speaking in Adolescents: Examining the Use of Complex Syntax,” JSLHR, doi:10.1044/1092-4388 (2013/13-0097)×
  • Copyright © 2015 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Article Information
Development / School-Based Settings / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Telepractice & Computer-Based Approaches / Normal Language Processing / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 2015
Critical Thinking About Fables: Examining Language Production and Comprehension in Adolescents
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2015, Vol. 58, 325-335. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14-0129
History: Received May 13, 2014 , Revised August 12, 2014 , Accepted November 5, 2014
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2015, Vol. 58, 325-335. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14-0129
History: Received May 13, 2014; Revised August 12, 2014; Accepted November 5, 2014

Purpose This study was designed primarily to determine if a critical-thinking task involving fables would elicit greater syntactic complexity than a conversational task in adolescents. Another purpose was to determine how well adolescents understand critical-thinking questions about fables.

Method Forty adolescents (N = 20 boys and 20 girls; mean age = 14 years) with typical language development answered critical-thinking questions about the deeper meanings of fables. They also participated in a standard conversational task. The syntactic complexity of their responses during the speaking tasks was analyzed for mean length of communication unit (MLCU) and clausal density (CD).

Results Both measures of syntactic complexity, MLCU and CD, were substantially greater during the critical-thinking task compared with the conversational task. It was also found that the adolescents understood the questions quite well, earning a mean accuracy score of 80%.

Conclusions The critical-thinking task has potential for use as a new type of language-sampling tool to examine language production and comprehension in adolescents.

Acknowledgments
We express gratitude to the adolescents who participated in the study; to their parents or guardians who granted them permission to participate; and to the administrators, principals, teachers, and librarians who assisted in scheduling the individual testing sessions.
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