Four-, 5-, and 6-year olds (N = 102) observed agents perform a reasoning task that required gathering hidden evidence. An agent who made sound inferences was contrasted with an agent who made either unsound inferences (UI; failed to base conclusion on gathered evidence) or guesses (failed to gather evidence). Four-year olds attributed knowledge to all agents and endorsed their conclusions widely. However, 5- and 6-year olds’ knowledge attributions were mitigated by UI, and 6-year olds neither attributed knowledge to a guesser nor endorsed his conclusions. Notably, parents’ tendency to make evaluativist epistemological judgments—which place value in evidence as a basis for belief—predicted children’s reluctance to learn from and credit knowledge to poor reasoners. Parents’ evaluativist judgments also predicted children’s selective learning about object functions.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the National Science Foundation Grant # 1024298 and the NAEd/Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship. The authors thank Lindsey Huffer-Kiesow, Laura McCreary, Caroline Clause, Gregory Crawford, Ryan Steele, and Fatuma Qorane for their assistance with stimuli development, participant recruitment, data collection, and reliability coding.
© 2021 Society for Research in Child Development
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
- Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.