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ERIC Number: EJ1118681
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1524-8372
Young Children Prefer and Remember Satisfying Explanations
Frazier, Brandy N.; Gelman, Susan A.; Wellman, Henry M.
Journal of Cognition and Development, v17 n5 p718-736 2016
Research with preschool children has shown that explanations are important to them in that they actively seek explanations in their conversations with adults. But what sorts of explanations do they prefer, and what, if anything, do young children learn from the explanations they receive? Following a preliminary study with adults (N = 67) to establish materials for use with children, we addressed this question using a seminaturalistic methodology. Four- and 5-year-olds (N = 69) were dissatisfied when receiving nonexplanations to their explanatory questions, but they were satisfied when receiving explanations, and their satisfaction varied appropriately across several levels of explanatory information. Moreover, using recall as a measure of learning, whereas children typically failed to recall nonexplanations, their recall of explanatory information was consistently high and also varied appropriately across differing levels of information provided. These results confirm that children not only actively seek informative explanations in their everyday conversational interactions with adults, but they selectively retain the answers they receive.
Psychology Press. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) (NIH)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: HD36043; HD022149