Preschoolers mistrust ignorant and inaccurate speakers

Koenig, Melissa A. and Harris, Paul L. (2005) Preschoolers mistrust ignorant and inaccurate speakers. Child development, 76 (6). pp. 1261-1277. ISSN 0009-3920

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Preschoolers mistrust ignorant and inaccurate speakers
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2005.00849.x

Abstract

Being able to evaluate the accuracy of an informant is essential to communication. Three experiments explored
preschoolers’ (N5119) understanding that, in cases of conflict, information from reliable informants is preferable
to information from unreliable informants. In Experiment 1, children were presented with previously
accurate and inaccurate informants who presented conflicting names for novel objects. 4-year-olds but not 3-
year-olds predicted whether an informant would be accurate in the future, sought, and endorsed information
from the accurate over the inaccurate informant. In Experiment 2, both age groups displayed trust in knowledgeable
over ignorant speakers. In Experiment 3, children extended selective trust when learning both verbal
and nonverbal information. These experiments demonstrate that preschoolers have a key strategy for assessing
the reliability of information.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Being able to evaluate the accuracy of an informant is essential to communication. Three experiments explored preschoolers’ (N5119) understanding that, in cases of conflict, information from reliable informants is preferable to information from unreliable informants. In Experiment 1, children were presented with previously accurate and inaccurate informants who presented conflicting names for novel objects. 4-year-olds but not 3- year-olds predicted whether an informant would be accurate in the future, sought, and endorsed information from the accurate over the inaccurate informant. In Experiment 2, both age groups displayed trust in knowledgeable over ignorant speakers. In Experiment 3, children extended selective trust when learning both verbal and nonverbal information. These experiments demonstrate that preschoolers have a key strategy for assessing the reliability of information.
Keywords:Communication, Pre-school children, child development
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C820 Developmental Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:1400
Deposited By: Jill Partridge
Deposited On:22 Oct 2007
Last Modified:13 Mar 2013 08:26

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