Thirty‐ and 36‐month‐old English speakers’ (N = 106) ability to produce jokes, distinguish between humorous and sincere intentions, and distinguish between English‐ and foreign‐language speakers, was examined in two tasks. In the Giving task, an experimenter requested one of two familiar objects, and a confederate always gave her the wrong object. In the Naming task, the confederate mislabeled familiar objects. In the English‐speaking conditions, the confederate laughed after doing the wrong thing (English‐Humor) or said, ‘There!’ (English‐Sincere). In the Foreign conditions, the French‐ or Italian‐speaking confederate laughed (Foreign‐Humor) or said, ‘D’accord!’ or ‘Va bene!’ (Foreign‐Sincere). When preschoolers were subsequently requested to give and name the same objects and a new set of familiar objects they were significantly more likely to imitate and ‘do the wrong thing’ in the Humor versus Sincere, and in the English versus Foreign conditions.
- SoE Centre for Psychological Approaches for Studying Education