Credulity and the development of selective trust in early childhood

Paul L. Harris, Kathleen H. Corriveau, Elisabeth S. Pasquini, Melissa Koenig, Maria Fusaro, Fabrice Clément

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

When faced with two informants making conflicting claims, preschool children display two heuristics: (1) they preferentially seek and endorse information from the informant with whom they have a stronger social connection, and (2) they preferentially seek and endorse information from the informant who has been more accurate in the past. When these two heuristics are placed in competition with one another, for example, when children encounter a familiar informant who has been inaccurate and an unfamiliar informant who has been accurate, younger preschoolers (3-year-olds) seek and endorse information from the more familiar informant whereas older preschoolers (5-year-olds)seek and endorse information from the more accurate informant. Preschoolers' growing sensitivity to accuracy can be plausibly interpreted as a metacognitive inference: they regard an informant who provides accurate answers as knowledgeable and hence likely to supply trustworthy information in the future. Nevertheless, more research is needed to establish how far children think of informants as contributing in a more or less trustworthy fashion to their own knowledge base.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFoundations of Metacognition
PublisherOxford University Press
Volume9780199646739
ISBN (Electronic)9780191745867
ISBN (Print)9780199646739
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 24 2013

Keywords

  • Children
  • Credulity
  • Development
  • Familiarity of informants
  • Knowledgeable informants
  • Metacognition
  • Selective trust
  • Testimony

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