ERIC Number: EJ1203967
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019
Abstractor: As Provided
"I Believe in Cusk": The Effect of Explicit Belief Statements on Children's Reality Status Judgments and Beliefs about Consensus
Dore, Rebecca A.; Woolley, Jacqueline D.; Hixon, John G.
Journal of Cognition and Development, v20 n1 p35-55 2019
Children learn about the world through others' testimony, and much of this knowledge likely comes from parents. Furthermore, parents may sometimes want children to share their beliefs about topics on which there is no universal consensus. In discussing such topics, parents may use explicit belief statements (e.g., "Evolution is real") or implicit belief statements (e.g., "Evolution happened over millions of years"). But little research has investigated how such statements affect children's beliefs. In the current study, 4- to 7-year-olds (N = 102) were shown videos of their parent providing either "Explicit" ("Cusk is real") or "Implicit" ("I know about cusk") belief testimony about novel entities. Then, children heard another speaker provide either "Denial" ("Cusk isn't real") or "Neutral" ("I've heard of cusk") testimony. Children made reality status judgments and consensus judgments (i.e., whether people agree about the entity's existence). Results showed that explicit and implicit belief statements differentially influenced children's beliefs about societal consensus when followed by a denial: explicit belief statements prevented children from drawing the conclusion that there is societal consensus that the entity does not exist. This effect was not related to age, indicating that children as young as 4 use these cues to inform consensus judgments. On the reality status task, there was an interaction with age, showing that only 4-year-olds were more likely to believe in an entity after hearing explicit belief statements. These findings suggest that explicit belief statements may serve as important sources of both children's beliefs about novel entities and societal consensus.
Descriptors: Beliefs, Value Judgment, Young Children, Age Differences, Cues, Parents, Childhood Attitudes, Child Development
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: R305B130012