NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1023465
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-May
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1363-755X
In the Absence of Conflicting Testimony Young Children Trust Inaccurate Informants
Vanderbilt, Kimberly E.; Heyman, Gail D.; Liu, David
Developmental Science, v17 n3 p443-451 May 2014
The present research investigated the nature of the inferences and decisions young children make about informants with a prior history of inaccuracies. Across three experiments, 3- and 4-year-olds (total "N" = 182) reacted to previously inaccurate informants who offered testimony in an object-labeling task. Of central interest was children's willingness to accept information provided by an inaccurate informant in different contexts of being alone, paired with an accurate informant, or paired with a novel (neutral) informant. Experiments 1 and 2 showed that when a previously inaccurate informant was alone and provided testimony that was not in conflict with the testimony of another informant, children systematically accepted the testimony of that informant. Experiment 3 showed that children accepted testimony from a neutral informant over an inaccurate informant when both provided information, but accepted testimony from an inaccurate informant rather than seeking information from an available neutral informant who did not automatically offer information. These results suggest that even though young children use prior history of accuracy to determine the relative reliability of informants, they are quite willing to trust the testimony of a single informant alone, regardless of whether that informant had previously been reliable.
Wiley-Blackwell. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8598; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A