Psychologists have emphasized children's acquisition of information through firsthand observation. However, many beliefs are acquired from others' testimony. In two experiments, most 4yearolds displayed sceptical trust in testimony. Having heard informants' accurate or inaccurate testimony, they anticipated that informants would continue to display such differential accuracy and they trusted the hitherto reliable informant. Yet they ignored the testimony of the reliable informant if it conflicted with what they themselves had seen. By contrast, threeyearolds were less selective in trusting a reliable (...) informant. Thus, young children check testimony against their own experience and increasingly recognise that some informants are more trustworthy than others. (shrink)
In two studies, 5- and 6-year-old children were questioned about the status of the protagonist embedded in three different types of stories. In realistic stories that only included ordinary events, all children, irrespective of family background and schooling, claimed that the protagonist was a real person. In religious stories that included ordinarily impossible events brought about by divine intervention, claims about the status of the protagonist varied sharply with exposure to religion. Children who went to church or were enrolled in (...) a parochial school, or both, judged the protagonist in religious stories to be a real person, whereas secular children with no such exposure to religion judged the protagonist in religious stories to be fictional. Children's upbringing was also related to their judgment about the protagonist in fantastical stories that included ordinarily impossible events whether brought about by magic or without reference to magic . Secular children were more likely than religious children to judge the protagonist in such fantastical stories to be fictional. The results suggest that exposure to religious ideas has a powerful impact on children's differentiation between reality and fiction, not just for religious stories but also for fantastical stories. (shrink)
What is the nature of children's trust in testimony? Is it based primarily on evidential correlations between statements and facts, as stated by Hume, or does it derive from an interest in the trustworthiness of particular speakers? In this essay, we explore these questions in an effort to understand the developmental course and cognitive bases of children's extensive reliance on testimony. Recent work shows that, from an early age, children monitor the reliability of particular informants, differentiate between those who make (...) true and false claims and keep that differential accuracy in mind when evaluating new information from these people. We argue that this selective trust is likely to involve the mentalistic appraisal of speakers rather than surface generalizations of their behavior. Finally, we review the significance of children's deference to adult authority on issues of naming and categorization. In addition to challenging a purely inductive account of trust, these and other findings reflect a potentially rich set of tools brought by children to the task of learning from people's testimony. (shrink)
Children ranging from 3 to 5 years were introduced to two anthropomorphic robots that provided them with information about unfamiliar animals. Children treated the robots as interlocutors. They supplied information to the robots and retained what the robots told them. Children also treated the robots as informants from whom they could seek information. Consistent with studies of children's early sensitivity to an interlocutor's non-verbal signals, children were especially attentive and receptive to whichever robot displayed the greater non-verbal contingency. Such selective (...) information seeking is consistent with recent findings showing that although young children learn from others, they are selective with respect to the informants that they question or endorse. (shrink)
Children's utterances from late infancy to 3 years of age were examined to infer their conception of knowledge. In Study 1, the utterances of two English-speaking children were analysed and in Study 2, the utterances of a Mandarin-speaking child were analysed – in both studies, for their use of the verb know. Both studies confirmed that know and not know were used to affirm, query or deny knowledge, especially concerning an ongoing topic of conversation. References to a third party were (...) rare. By implication, 2-year-olds have a conception of knowledge that underpins their exchange of information in conversation. Implications for the child's developing theory of mind are discussed. (shrink)
Most literature on the ethics of global warming focuses on the obligations of industrialized states to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases and to help poor countries do likewise. These books are no exception, arguing that the issue is a matter of international justice and equity.
Developmental psychologists have often portrayed young children as stubborn autodidacts who ignore the testimony of others. Yet the basic design of the human cognitive system indicates an early ability to co-ordinate information derived from first-hand observation with information derived from testimony. There is no obvious tendency to favour the former over the latter. Indeed, young children are relatively poor at monitoring whether they learned something from observation or from testimony. Moreover, the processes by which children and adults understand and remember (...) a sequence of events appear to be similar, whether they witness that sequence or are told about it. Children’s early receptivity to testimony raises the question of whether and how children discern what testimony is reliable. Arguably, before the emergence of reflective judgement, children are equipped with a tacit filtering device. To be understood, any new piece of testimony typically needs to be consistent with, and integrated into, what is already known about the topic in question. Children’s impoverished knowledge base will make that integrative process relatively slow. Thus, children’s early ignorance may often save them from misplaced credulity.Author Keywords: Trust; Testimony; Sources ; Cognitive development; Situation model. (shrink)
Periodically, we take stock of SubStance and provide a brief statement regarding initiatives and priorities in the journal's interests. Three years ago, we announced that "Exploring hybrid writing with theoretical impact is at the center of our current preoccupations."1 Since that time, the journal has made significant changes. This issue marks our fourth issue of publishing with Johns Hopkins University Press in a transition that recognizes our new publisher as a leader among university presses.Our plan also expressed our intent to (...) move toward publishing digital work that exemplifies theoretical thinking in nonlinear, experimental forms. In 2018, we launched Digital SubStance, a platform for "hybrid work that... (shrink)
How do children acquire beliefs from testimony? In this chapter, we discuss children’s trust in testimony, their sensitivity to and use of defeaters, and their appeals to positive reasons for trusting what other people tell them. Empirical evidence shows that, from an early age, children have a tendency to trust testimony. However, this tendency to trust is accompanied by sensitivity to cues that suggest unreliability, including inaccuracy of the message and characteristics of the speaker. Not only are children sensitive to (...) evidence of unreliability, but they are also sensitive to the positive reasons a speaker may have for the reliability of their testimony. This evidence is discussed in relation to reductivist and non-reductivist viewpoints. (shrink)
CO-MODIFIED: Rocks on Vinyl comprises nine 6' x 3' banners displayed like convention signage. They are presented as a series of speculative geomedia landscapes that explore contemporary human entanglements and collaborations with the lithosphere, activities that are transforming the earth's surface and registering in its stratified depths. Animated by an affective, aesthetic appreciation of stone, these works invite reflection and discernment in a historical moment defined as the geologic now.1The stories of earth and humans are written in stone, from tectonic (...) plate movements and the rock record to Neolithic cave paintings and stone circles. These histories are becoming increasingly inextricably intertwined, as... (shrink)
Studies of reasoning have often invoked a distinction between a natural or ordinary consideration of the premises, in which they are interpreted, and even distorted, in the light of empirical knowledge, and an analytic or logical consideration of the premises, in which they are analysed in a literal fashion for their logical implications. Two or three years of schooling have been seen as critical for the spontaneous use of analytic reasoning. In two experiments, however, 4-year-olds who were given brief instructions (...) that prompted use of an analytic approach continued to adopt this approach one week later. Thus, when given syllogistic problems in which the major premise was incongruent with their empirical knowledge (e.g. "All snow is black"), instructed children reasoned more accurately from that premise both immediately and a week later as compared to children given only a basic introduction. A third experiment showed that instructions also improved 4-year-olds' performance on hard-to-imagine, abstract material (e.g."All mib is white"). Similarities between the effects of brief instruction and of schooling are discussed. (shrink)
Children learn about the world from the testimony of other people, often coming to accept what they are told about a variety of unobservable and indeed counter-intuitive phenomena. However, research on children’s learning from testimony has paid limited attention to the foundations of that capacity. We ask whether those foundations can be observed in infancy. We review evidence from two areas of research: infants’ sensitivity to the emotional expressions of other people; and their capacity to understand the exchange of information (...) through non-verbal gestures and vocalization. We conclude that a grasp of the bi-directional exchange of information is present early in the second year. We discuss the implications for future research, especially across different cultural settings. (shrink)
ABSTRACTWhat is the nature of children's trust in testimony? Is it based primarily on evidential correlations between statements and facts, as stated by Hume, or does it derive from an interest in the trustworthiness of particular speakers? In this essay, we explore these questions in an effort to understand the developmental course and cognitive bases of children's extensive reliance on testimony. Recent work shows that, from an early age, children monitor the reliability of particular informants, differentiate between those who make (...) true and false claims and keep that differential accuracy in mind when evaluating new information from these people. We argue that this selective trust is likely to involve the mentalistic appraisal of speakers rather than surface generalizations of their behavior. Finally, we review the significance of children's deference to adult authority on issues of naming and categorization. In addition to challenging a purely inductive account of trust, these and other findings reflect a potentially rich set of tools brought by children to the task of learning from people's testimony. (shrink)
Those with the ability to help can do so without significant sacrifice. Hence, those countries with the means to provide solutions to the HIV/AIDS crisis, and give succor to those now suffering from it, have a moral obligation to act.
Abstract: William James argued that we ordinarily think of the objects that we can observe—things that belong to 'the world of sense'—as having an unquestioned reality. However, young children also assert the existence of entities that they cannot ordinarily observe. For example, they assert the existence of germs and souls. The belief in the existence of such unobservable entities is likely to be based on children's broader trust in other people's testimony about objects and situations that they cannot directly observe (...) for themselves. (shrink)
Pollution and overuse of resources in China have profound implications for the Chinese people and the world. Globalisation may be partly to blame for this situation, but it is hardly the only explanation. China has been overusing its resources for centuries. Traditional values appear to offer environmentally benign guidance for China's economic development, but they are largely impotent in the face of now-pervasive values manifested in Western-style consumption. Government policies go some way toward addressing this problem, but what may be (...) required is a new set of values that brings self-interest and environmental protection into common cause. (shrink)