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date: 20 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Children often exhibit difficulties restricting the scope of a universal quantifier in contexts where sets of entities are in partial one-to-one correspondence (e.g. children incorrectly answer the question Are all the cars in a garage? in a situation where there is an extra empty garage). Quantifier spreading occurs across truth-value judgement, picture-choice, sentence-picture verification, and syllogistic reasoning tasks. Errors have been attributed to immature syntax, lack of exposure to relevant input, shallow sentence processing, and pragmatic factors, including infelicitous testing conditions. Errors persist in school-age children and occur in second language learners, deaf individuals, and adults with low educational attainment. Eye-tracking studies have identified a signature pattern of visual attention associated with quantifier spreading, which suggests that errors may reflect cognitive overload in sentence processing.

Keywords: quantifier spreading, overexhaustive search, conversion errors, symmetric errors, exhaustive pairing, class inclusion, pragmatic competence, sentence-picture verification

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