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Children’s trust in previously inaccurate informants who were well- or poorly- informed : when past errors can be excused

By Erika Nurmsoo and Elizabeth J. Robinson


Past research demonstrates that children learn from a previously accurate speaker rather\ud than from a previously inaccurate one. This study shows that children do not necessarily\ud treat a previously inaccurate speaker as unreliable. Rather, they appropriately excuse past\ud inaccuracy arising from the speaker’s limited information access. Children (N = 67) aged\ud 3, 4 and 5 years aimed to identify a hidden toy in collaboration with a puppet as\ud informant. When the puppet had previously been inaccurate despite having full\ud information, children tended to ignore what they were told and guess for themselves:\ud They treated the puppet as unreliable in the longer term. However children more\ud frequently believed a currently well-informed puppet whose past inaccuracies arose\ud legitimately from inadequate information access

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Publisher: Blackwell
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