Developmental differences in the relative weighing of informants' social attributes.

Bolivar Reyes-Jaquez, Catharine H. Echols

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25 Scopus citations


We examined whether similarity, familiarity, and reliability cues guide children's learning and whether these cues are weighed differently with age. Three- to 5-year-olds (n = 184) met 2 informant puppets, 1 of which was similar (Experiment 1) or familiar (Experiment 2) to the participants. Initially, children's preference for either informant was measured. Children selected similar and familiar informants--over dissimilar and unfamiliar ones--as information sources at above-chance levels. In Experiment 1 the similar informant later provided accurate or inaccurate information (counterbalanced). Children's initial preference for similar sources was modified by reliability cues. However, 5-year-olds continued to be influenced by similarity, being less likely to avoid inaccurate sources if similar than dissimilar. In Experiment 2 the familiar informant was later portrayed as interpersonally similar or dissimilar (counterbalanced). Only 5-year-olds were influenced by similarity, preferentially interacting with similar informants regardless of familiarity. These results suggest that similarity influences children's learning and that children's relative weighing of social cues varies with age--with younger children being especially focused on familiarity and older children being particularly attentive to similarity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)602-613
Number of pages12
JournalUnknown Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013


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