Children’s Evaluations of Informants and their Surprising Claims in Direct and Overheard Contexts

Pearl Han Li, Melissa A. Koenig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Children are known to accept communicated information, even when it contradicts their own judgments. Here, we explored the role of direct address and accuracy in children’s testimonial decisions and socio-moral evaluations of the speaker. After 4-year-old children (N = 100) gave baseline classification responses for four hybrid animals, an adult speaker either directly told the child information that was in conflict with children’s original judgment, or communicated the same information to a third party over the phone. Children accepted new information in both contexts but were more receptive to surprising claims when the information was communicated to them directly than when it was overheard. Once children learned about the accuracy of the testimony they received, their subsequent socio-moral decisions to reciprocate and share information with the speaker were influenced by the accuracy of the speaker’s testimony, and not by the manner of address.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-446
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Cognition and Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 26 2020

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© 2020, © 2020 Taylor & Francis.


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