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ERIC Number: EJ1007413
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Mar
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 51
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
"Who Can Help Me Fix This Toy?" The Distinction between Causal Knowledge and Word Knowledge Guides Preschoolers' Selective Requests for Information
Kushnir, Tamar; Vredenburgh, Christopher; Schneider, Lauren A.
Developmental Psychology, v49 n3 p446-453 Mar 2013
Preschoolers use outcomes of actions to infer causal properties of objects. We asked whether they also use them to infer others' causal abilities and knowledge. In Experiment 1, preschoolers saw 2 informants, 2 tools, and 2 broken toys. One informant (the "labeler") knew the names of the tools, but his actions failed to activate the toys. The other (the "fixer") was ignorant about the names of the tools, but his actions succeeded in activating the toys. Four-year-olds (and to a lesser extent, 3-year-olds) selectively directed requests for new labels to the labeler and directed requests to fix new broken toys to the fixer. In a second experiment, 4-year-olds also endorsed a fixer's (over a nonfixer's) causal explanations for mechanical failures. They did not, however, ask the fixer about new words (Experiments 1 and 2) or artifact functions (Experiment 1). Thus, preschoolers take demonstrated causal ability as a sign of specialized causal knowledge, which suggests a basis for developing ideas about causal expertise. (Contains 1 figure.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A