Insights into children's testimonial reasoning

Katherine E Ridge, Annelise N Pesch, Sarah Suárez, Melissa A. Koenig

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Human testimony is a rich source of knowledge about the world, enabling us to acquire information about things both near and distant, available and unavailable, known and unknown. It also provides us with an opportunity to investigate children's reasoning about the human informants who testify. In this chapter, we discuss the testimonial reasoning that supports children's knowledge acquisition. We discuss both the evidential reasons (e.g., epistemic reliability) that children have to believe what they are told and the distinct interpersonal reasons (e.g., direct address) that children have to trust others. We suggest that children engage in a flexible reasoning process that recruits children's understanding of intentional agency, one that empowers them to monitor epistemic and moral transgressions, but also to forgive excusable errors. We offer insight into new avenues for future research, with an interest in better specifying the reasoning that children apply to testimony, and the implications this has for understanding individual and cultural differences in testimonial learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationActive Learning from Infancy to Childhood
Subtitle of host publicationSocial Motivation, Cognition, and Linguistic Mechanisms
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783319771823
ISBN (Print)9783319771816
StatePublished - May 4 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Insights into children's testimonial reasoning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this