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Identifying unreliable informants : do children excuse past inaccuracies

By E. Nurmsoo and Elizabeth J. Robinson


In three experiments (N = 123; 148; 28), children observed a video in which two speakers offered alternative labels for unfamiliar objects. In Experiment 1, 3- to 5-year-olds endorsed the label given by a speaker who had previously labeled familiar objects accurately, rather than that given by a speaker with a history of inaccurate labeling, even when the inaccurate speaker erred only while blindfolded. In Experiments 2 and 3, 3- to 7-year-olds showed no preference for the label given by a previously inaccurate but blindfolded speaker, over that given by a second inaccurate speaker with no obvious excuse for erring. Children based their endorsements on speakers’ history of accuracy or inaccuracy irrespective of the speakers’ information access at the time, raising doubts that children made mentalistic interpretations of speakers’ inaccuracy

Topics: BF
Publisher: Blackwell
Year: 2009
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