Intentions help children learn meaningful rules

Smadar Patael, Gil Diesendruck*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study investigated the roles of pattern detection capacities and understanding of intentions in children's learning of linguistic rules. We taught two-year-olds a Hebrew morphological distinction between noun and verb forms using two different training protocols. The protocols were identical in all parameters except that only in an Intentional, but not in a Control condition, were children introduced to the stimuli in an intentional communicative context. We found that children learned the morphological rule only in the Intentional condition. Thus, besides their pattern detection capacities, children's understanding of intentions substantially boosts their learning of meaningful rules.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-234
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Child Language
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes


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