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Children's suggestibility in relation to their understanding about sources of knowledge

By Elizabeth J. Robinson and E. L. Whitcombe

Abstract

In the experiments reported here, children chose either to maintain their initial belief about an object's identity or to accept the experimenter's contradicting suggestion. Both 3– to 4–year–olds and 4– to 5–year–olds were good at accepting the suggestion only when the experimenter was better informed than they were (implicit source monitoring). They were less accurate at recalling both their own and the experimenter's information access (explicit recall of experience), though they performed well above chance. Children were least accurate at reporting whether their final belief was based on what they were told or on what they experienced directly (explicit source monitoring). Contrasting results emerged when children decided between contradictory suggestions from two differentially informed adults: Three– to 4–year–olds were more accurate at reporting the knowledge source of the adult they believed than at deciding which suggestion was reliable. Decision making in this observation task may require reflective understanding akin to that required for explicit source judgments when the child participates in the task

Topics: BF
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
Year: 2003
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:1251

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