I would like to thank Elizabeth Blaschak, Kat Frederick, and Cheryl Browne for help with stimuli preparation and data collection. I thank Cathy Echols, Jacqui Woolley, and Paul Harris for helpful comments on earlier versions of the manuscript.
Beyond Semantic Accuracy: Preschoolers Evaluate a Speaker’s Reasons
Article first published online: 14 MAR 2012
© 2012 The Author. Child Development © 2012 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.
Volume 83, Issue 3, pages 1051–1063, May/June 2012
How to Cite
Koenig, M. A. (2012), Beyond Semantic Accuracy: Preschoolers Evaluate a Speaker’s Reasons. Child Development, 83: 1051–1063. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01742.x
- Issue published online: 1 MAY 2012
- Article first published online: 14 MAR 2012
Children’s sensitivity to the quality of epistemic reasons and their selective trust in the more reasonable of 2 informants was investigated in 2 experiments. Three-, 4-, and 5-year-old children (N = 90) were presented with speakers who stated different kinds of evidence for what they believed. Experiment 1 showed that children of all age groups appropriately judged looking, reliable testimony, and inference as better reasons for belief than pretense, guessing, and desiring. Experiment 2 showed that 3- and 4-year-old children preferred to seek and accept new information from a speaker who was previously judged to use the “best” way of thinking. The findings demonstrate that children distinguish certain good from bad reasons and prefer to learn from those who showcased good reasoning in the past.