This research was funded by a grant from the Deborah Beth Lobliner Graduate Fellowship to Ansley Tullos and a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grant (HD030300) to Jacqueline D. Woolley. We thank the children and adults who participated, the staff at the Children’s Research Lab, as well as the following people who helped with data collection: Michael Aguhar, Amanda Amescua, Gordana Anusic, Lacy Cervenka, Laura Dewey, Janette Flores, Rebecca Feng, Megan German, Dorna Hoseiny, Jessica Huang, Alicia Jones, Carol Leung, Matt Maa, Melissa McInnis, Claudia Mejia, Oshma Raj, Amanda Rhoads, Natasha Shah, Elizabeth Shults, Courtney Stollon, Rachel Tuckness, and Sapna Veluru. We are grateful to Jean Echols for her video portrayal of “Dr. Kim,” Greg Hixon for statistical consultation, Elizabeth Boerger for help designing the method for the initial pilot, and Rebecca Bigler, Victoria Cox, Catharine Echols, Lili Ma, Rachel Riskind, and three anonymous reviewers for insightful and constructive comments on the original article.
The Development of Children’s Ability to Use Evidence to Infer Reality Status
Version of Record online: 5 FEB 2009
© 2009, Copyright the Author(s); Journal Compilation © 2009, Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.
Volume 80, Issue 1, pages 101–114, January/February 2009
How to Cite
Tullos, A. and Woolley, J. D. (2009), The Development of Children’s Ability to Use Evidence to Infer Reality Status. Child Development, 80: 101–114. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2008.01248.x
Preliminary results were presented at the fourth biennial meeting of the Cognitive Development Society in October 2005. Final results were presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development in March 2007.
- Issue online: 5 FEB 2009
- Version of Record online: 5 FEB 2009
These studies investigate children’s use of scientific reasoning to infer the reality status of novel entities. Four- to 8-year-olds heard about novel entities and were asked to infer their reality status from 3 types of evidence: supporting evidence, irrelevant evidence, and no evidence. Experiment 1 revealed that children used supporting versus irrelevant and no evidence differentially. Experiment 2 demonstrated that children without initial reality status biases were better at evaluating evidence than were biased children. In conclusion, the ability to infer reality status from evidence develops incrementally between ages 4 and 6, and children perform better when their evaluation is free from bias.