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.

Related Articles


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 January 31, 2015 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 January 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

AP (Jan. 30, 2015) The NFL announced this week that the number of game concussions dropped by a quarter over last season. Still, the dangers of the sport still weigh on players, and parents&apos; minds. (Jan. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Shows Newborn Chicks Count From Left to Right Just Like Humans

Study Shows Newborn Chicks Count From Left to Right Just Like Humans

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) Researchers for the first time identified human&apos;s innate preference for associating low and high numbers with the left and right respectively in another species. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Best Mood Elevating, Feel Good Shakes & Smoothies

Best Mood Elevating, Feel Good Shakes & Smoothies

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) You can elevate your mood by having a meal in a glass. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) offers the best &apos;feel good&apos; smoothies and shakes chock full of depression-relieving ingredients...including apples, berries, lemons, cucumbers, papaya, kiwi, spinach, kale, whey protein, matcha, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Poll Says Firstborn Is Responsible, Youngest Is Funnier

Poll Says Firstborn Is Responsible, Youngest Is Funnier

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) According to a poll out of the U.K., eldest siblings feel more responsible and successful than their younger siblings. 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