Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Kids Are Cynics, Too? Yeah, Right

Date:
July 19, 2005
Source:
American Psychological Society
Summary:
As a generally cynical society, we tend to assume that the only innocent minds worth cherishing are those of children. However, that idyllic thought could be dashed to pieces because as early as first or second grade, children can show definite signs they are gaining the lifelong skill of taking some information they hear with a grain of salt.

As a generally cynical society, we tend to assume that the only innocent minds worth cherishing are those of children. However, that idyllic thought could be dashed to pieces because as early as first or second grade, children can show definite signs they are gaining the lifelong skill of taking some information they hear with a grain of salt.

Related Articles


Yale University researchers Candice Mills and Frank Keil explored the development of cynicism in children. They found that children as young as 7 exhibit reluctance to accept the spoken word as truth. These findings are reported in the May 2005 issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the American Psychological Society, in an article entitled "The Development of Cynicism."

A group of children ranging in age from 5 to 11 years heard stories in which people in different contexts made statements that were either congruent with or counter to their own self-interests about the outcome of an event. After hearing the people's statements, the children were asked to rate to what extent they believed each statement and how they judged those that were revealed as false.

By age 7, children were able to recognize and discount statements that were clearly aligned with the self-interest of the speaker.In some situations, 7-year-olds exhibited more cynicism than the older children. The 7- to11-year-olds couldn't grasp the idea that someone's bias could be accidental; consequently they believed that all false statements made in self-interest were lies and that all those made against self-interest were mistakes. Before age 7, children were shown to be relatively gullible, believing most self-interest-motivated statements to be true.

By age 11, children were shown to be able to perceive situational bias as well as deliberate deception as possible explanations for what people said. In short, at least by age 7, children can be cynical, recognizing that people's statements may be influenced by their own interests. Yet the 7-year-olds' blindness to unintentional bias as an explanation suggests that a full understanding of how self-interests influence what people say and do develops over childhood.

"An understanding of unconsciousness develops over the elementary-school years and it may be difficult for children to grasp this concept and its causal influences. Future research should explore the emergence of an understanding of bias in children," conclude the authors. This research has implications for how children interpret and understand information and could alter views on how children are targeted as an audience in the media and in advertising.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Psychological Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Psychological Society. "Kids Are Cynics, Too? Yeah, Right." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 July 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050718215147.htm>.
American Psychological Society. (2005, July 19). Kids Are Cynics, Too? Yeah, Right. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050718215147.htm
American Psychological Society. "Kids Are Cynics, Too? Yeah, Right." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050718215147.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins