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THE INFLUENCE OF SIBLING AGE ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF REFERENTIAL BEHAVIOR IN THE YOUNGEST SIBLING: A LONGITUDINAL CASE STUDY
AuthorHenkle, Kimberly A
AdvisorGhezzi, Patrick M.
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Decades worth of research has been committed to analyzing language development, the majority of which has focused on caregiver-child interactions and analyzing formal properties of language. Though caregivers play a large role in the development of their children, they are only one source of influence. Other family members, notably siblings, and their potential influence on language development has been largely overlooked. Therefore, the current investigation analyzed sibling interactions from an interbehavioral orientation and provides a functional account of language development. The purpose of which was to analyze the development of referential behavior of the youngest sibling utilizing a longitudinal observational design. The results show an increase in referential behavior over time, decreases in incomplete interactions and changes in mediative type interactions to more coordinated, simple referential interactions with an increase in references to imaginary people, objects, and events. Overall, response differentiation was highest in the presence of the oldest sibling. Thus, the results support findings within the siblingese literature and answers a call for more functional accounts of language development.