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ERIC Number: EJ930842
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Sep
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
Young Children's Use of Statistical Sampling Evidence to Infer the Subjectivity of Preferences
Ma, Lili; Xu, Fei
Cognition, v120 n3 p403-411 Sep 2011
A crucial task in social interaction involves understanding subjective mental states. Here we report two experiments with toddlers exploring whether they can use statistical evidence to infer the subjective nature of preferences. We found that 2-year-olds were likely to interpret another person's nonrandom sampling behavior as a cue for a preference different from their own. When there was no alternative in the population or if the sampling was random, 2-year-olds did not ascribe a preference and persisted in their initial beliefs that the person would share their own preference. We found similar but weaker patterns of responses in 16-month-olds. These results suggest that the ability to infer the subjectivity of preferences based on sampling information begins to emerge between 16 months and 2 years. Our findings provide some of the first evidence that from early in development, young children can use statistical evidence to make rational inferences about the social world. (Contains 2 tables and 2 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A