We investigated whether children's ability to deal with referentially opaque contexts could be predicted by both metarepresentational ability (false-belief understanding) and metalinguistic awareness (the ability to compare and evaluate statements containing referring expressions). Five- to 7-year-olds completed opacity, false-belief, metalinguistic awareness, digit-span, and vocabulary measures. Hierarchical regressions indicated that even after the variability from age, vocabulary, and digit span is taken into account, metarepresentational ability and metalinguistic awareness still significantly, and independently, explain some variability in referential opacity performance. These results are taken as support for the view that both metarepresentational ability and metalinguistic awareness are necessary in order to deal with referentially opaque contexts.

dx.doi.org/10.1080/15248370903389499
Journal of Cognition and Development
Children's Representational Development Lab

Kamawar, D, & Olson, D.R. (David R.). (2009). Children's understanding of referentially opaque contexts: The role of metarepresentational and metalinguistic ability. Journal of Cognition and Development, 10(4), 285–305. doi:10.1080/15248370903389499