Testimony provides children with a rich source of knowledge about the world and the people in it. However, testimony is not guaranteed to be veridical, and speakers vary greatly in both knowledge and intent. In this chapter, we argue that children encounter two primary types of conflicts when learning from speakers: conflicts of knowledge and conflicts of interest. We review recent research on children's selective trust in testimony and propose two distinct mechanisms supporting early epistemic vigilance in response to the conflicts associated with speakers. The first section of the chapter focuses on the mechanism of coherence checking, which occurs during the process of message comprehension and facilitates children's comparison of information communicated through testimony to their prior knowledge, alerting them to inaccurate, inconsistent, irrational, and implausible messages. The second section focuses on source-monitoring processes. When children lack relevant prior knowledge with which to evaluate testimonial messages, they monitor speakers themselves for evidence of competence and morality, attending to cues such as confidence, consensus, access to information, prosocial and antisocial behavior, and group membership.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Advances in Child Development and Behavior|
|Publisher||Academic Press Inc.|
|Number of pages||33|
|State||Published - 2015|
|Name||Advances in Child Development and Behavior|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This chapter was supported by the National Institute of Health under a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (grant number 5T32HD007151) from the NICHD to E. Stephens and by the National Science Foundation (NSF award #1024298) to M. Koenig.
© 2015 Elsevier Inc.
- Coherence checking
- Epistemic vigilance
- Selective learning
- Selective trust
- Source monitoring