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Children's sensitivity to their own relative ignorance : handling of possibilities under epistemic and physical uncertainty

By Elizabeth J. Robinson, M. J. Rowley, S. R. Beck, D. J. Carroll and Ian Apperly


Children were more likely correctly to specify possibilities when uncertainty resided in the physical world, and more likely to guess the outcome when objectively identical uncertainty arose from their own perspective of ignorance (epistemic uncertainty). In Experiment 1, 4-to 6-year-olds more frequently marked both doors from which a block might emerge when the outcome was undetermined, than when the block was hidden behind one door. In Experiment 2 (5-to 6- year-olds) and 3 (5-to 8- yearolds), children more frequently placed food in both possible locations when an imaginary pet was yet to be placed in a box, than when it was hidden in one. Results have implications for interpretive theory of mind and ‘curse of knowledge’

Topics: BF
Publisher: Blackwell-synergy
Year: 2006
DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2006.00964.x
OAI identifier:

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