Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Four-year-olds know that being right is not enough

Date:
August 20, 2011
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
As they grow, children learn a lot about the world from what other people tell them. Along the way, they have to figure out who is a reliable source of information. A new study finds that when children reach around 4 years, they start noticing whether someone is actually knowledgeable or if they're just getting the answers from someone else.

As they grow, children learn a lot about the world from what other people tell them. Along the way, they have to figure out who is a reliable source of information. A new study, which will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that when children reach around 4 years, they start noticing whether someone is actually knowledgeable or if they're just getting the answers from someone else.

Earlier studies have found that children as young as age three pay attention to whether someone is an accurate information source. If someone gives correct information, they'll go back to that person for more answers. But Shiri Einav of Oxford Brookes University in the UK thought there was more to the story. "If you give a correct response it doesn't necessarily mean you're knowledgeable" she says. "You could be accurate because you asked someone else for help or you could be accurate by a complete fluke." Einav and her coauthor, Elizabeth Robinson of Warwick University, wanted to know whether children assessing the reliability of others take into account the reasons for others' accuracy.

For their study, Einav and Robinson used puppets and a teddy bear to test children. A child would hold up a picture of an elephant, cow, or rabbit for each puppet to identify. Both puppets labeled all animals correctly but one puppet always knew the answer without any help, whereas the other puppet always relied on help from Ted. Then, Ted was removed so he couldn't help the puppets anymore and the child was given a picture of an unfamiliar animal -- a mongoose -- and asked which puppet could tell them what it was.

Three-year-olds were equally likely to choose the puppet who'd known the answers on its own and the puppet that got help from Ted. But four- and five-year-olds were more discriminating: They invested more trust in the puppet whose accuracy reflected independent knowledge rather than being dependent on an external source. "We think it's important that from the age of around four, children are being sophisticated in a way that people hadn't really shown before," Einav says. "They're able to distinguish someone who's truly knowledgeable from someone who's given them a right answer but doesn't necessarily deserve long-term trust." This useful skill allows children to seek out people who are likely to be particularly beneficial for their learning.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Four-year-olds know that being right is not enough." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110818154351.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2011, August 20). Four-year-olds know that being right is not enough. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110818154351.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Four-year-olds know that being right is not enough." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110818154351.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) In a ruling attorneys for both sides agreed was a first of its kind, a Georgia appeals court said parents can be held liable for what kids put online. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) Researchers claim they’ve diagnosed the first example of the disorder in a 31-year-old U.S. Navy serviceman. 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