Preschoolers' Evaluations of Ignorant Agents are Situation-Specific

Alyssa R. Varhol, Tamar Kushnir, Melissa A. Koenig

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Preschool children's preference for knowledgeable agents over ignorant and inaccurate agents (Sabbagh & Baldwin, 2001; Koenig & Harris, 2005; Rakoczy et al., 2015), is generally interpreted as epistemic vigilance. However, Kushnir and Koenig (2017) recently found that without a contrasting accurate agent, preschoolers will learn new information from an agent who professed ignorance, but not from one who was inaccurate. Employing a two-speaker design contrasting an agent who professed ignorance about familiar object labels with a speaker whose knowledge state was not revealed, we found that preschoolers (N = 41; 3.50-4.89 years, M = 4.08 years) avoided requesting and endorsing novel information from the ignorant agent in the same domain as her previous ignorance (i.e., labels). In different domains, however, (i.e. novel function learning, resource sharing, etc.) they were at chance in choosing the ignorant agent. This suggests that preschoolers' view of ignorance is situational, rather than uniformly negative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society
Subtitle of host publicationCreativity + Cognition + Computation, CogSci 2019
PublisherThe Cognitive Science Society
Pages3022-3028
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)0991196775, 9780991196777
StatePublished - 2019
Event41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Creativity + Cognition + Computation, CogSci 2019 - Montreal, Canada
Duration: Jul 24 2019Jul 27 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Creativity + Cognition + Computation, CogSci 2019

Conference

Conference41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Creativity + Cognition + Computation, CogSci 2019
Country/TerritoryCanada
CityMontreal
Period7/24/197/27/19

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Huashoua Thao and Lizeth Rodriguez for their contributions to data collection and Sara Wilkerson for her help in overseeing data collection.

Publisher Copyright:
© Cognitive Science Society: Creativity + Cognition + Computation, CogSci 2019.All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • accuracy
  • cognitive development
  • credibility
  • epistemic trust
  • epistemic vigilance
  • learning
  • social cognition
  • testimony

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