In a previous experiment, we asked parents and children to play a reference game using novel tangram stimuli. On each round, one partner's goal was to direct the other partner to select a target tangram from a set of two. Over the course of successive interactions, we saw found classic hallmarks of referential pact formation (e.g. shortening of referential expressions) and also differences in this process of pact formation over development.
In this study, we are collecting external ratings of the "informativeness" of each of these referential expressions (i.e. how helpful they are in selecting they correct referent) for a naive, external observer. If parents and their children are forming referential pacts, the informativeness of expressions should decrease for external observers over trials. The goal of this project is to determine the extent to which this reduction is happening, and also to ask whether it happens differentially for children of different ages and for children and parents.