Word definition tasks are regarded as one of the most accurate measures of intelligence, yet little of the research on the development of defining style has been used to develop those tasks. This paper examines the research on defining, showing the wealth of information about cognitive and linguistic development which can be gleaned from studying children's defining styles. We then add data from our own research on the definitions of children and adults which provides additional support for recent theories, but which also indicates a need to consider sociological factors as well.

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