Are Children Sensitive to What They Know?: An Insight from Yucatec Mayan Children

Journal of Cognition and Culture 21 (3-4):226-242 (2021)
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Abstract

Metacognitive abilities are considered as a hallmark of advanced human cognition. Existing empirical studies have exclusively focused on populations from Western and industrialized societies. Little is known about young children’s metacognitive abilities in other societal and cultural contexts. Here we tested 4-year-old Yucatec Mayan by adopting a metacognitive task in which children’s explicit assessment of their own knowledge states about the hidden content of a container and their informing judgments were assessed. Similar to previous studies, we found that Yucatec Mayan children overestimated their knowledge states in the explicit metacognitive task. However, in contrast with studies on Western children, we did not find the facilitating effect of the implicit informing task over the explicit task. These findings suggest that the early development of metacognition combines universal and culture-sensitive features.

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Joëlle Proust
Institut Jean Nicod

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