Title

Context Matters in Children’s Reasoning about Confident and Hesitant Individuals

Presentation Type

Presentation - Campus Access Only

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Rachel L. Severson

Faculty Mentor’s Department

Psychology

Abstract

Children often treat confident individuals as credible sources of information. Yet, confidence may differentially signify credibility depending upon the domain of knowledge. When dealing with factual information, confident responses indicate greater credibility. However, when deliberating about moral issues, hesitancy may reflect a deeper level of thoughtfulness, and therefore credibility. This study investigated children’s judgments of and reasoning about individuals who differed in the level of confidence (confident, hesitant) in two domains of knowledge (factual, moral).

In a between-subjects design, children 3-8 years (N=96) listened to confident and hesitant models make either novel factual (e.g., which animal has an omentum inside?) or moral claims (e.g., which animal should get the last piece of fish?). Across eight trials (4 confident, 4 hesitant), children rated the models on a 4-point scale (0=not at all, 3=a lot) in terms of confidence level, likeability, smartness, and agreement with answer. We further questioned participants regarding the reasoning underlying their judgments on the smartness and agreement with answer questions.

Preliminary analyses indicate children preferred the confident individual when learning factual information, but not when deliberating about moral claims. The reasoning data is the focus of the current work. An official coder is currently coding the full data set. An independent coder is re-coding 30% (randomly selected) of the data to establish reliability of the coding scheme. We will analyze the types of reasoning children use based on model’s level of confidence (confident, hesitant) and the domain of knowledge (factual, moral).

This research will shed light on children’s ability to evaluate an informant’s credibility depending upon the context, and the reasoning underlying those judgments. This research will advance knowledge in how and why children use confidence cues about individuals’ credibility when determining who is a trustworthy source of new information.

Category

Social Sciences

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Apr 17th, 4:20 PM Apr 17th, 4:40 PM

Context Matters in Children’s Reasoning about Confident and Hesitant Individuals

UC 326

Children often treat confident individuals as credible sources of information. Yet, confidence may differentially signify credibility depending upon the domain of knowledge. When dealing with factual information, confident responses indicate greater credibility. However, when deliberating about moral issues, hesitancy may reflect a deeper level of thoughtfulness, and therefore credibility. This study investigated children’s judgments of and reasoning about individuals who differed in the level of confidence (confident, hesitant) in two domains of knowledge (factual, moral).

In a between-subjects design, children 3-8 years (N=96) listened to confident and hesitant models make either novel factual (e.g., which animal has an omentum inside?) or moral claims (e.g., which animal should get the last piece of fish?). Across eight trials (4 confident, 4 hesitant), children rated the models on a 4-point scale (0=not at all, 3=a lot) in terms of confidence level, likeability, smartness, and agreement with answer. We further questioned participants regarding the reasoning underlying their judgments on the smartness and agreement with answer questions.

Preliminary analyses indicate children preferred the confident individual when learning factual information, but not when deliberating about moral claims. The reasoning data is the focus of the current work. An official coder is currently coding the full data set. An independent coder is re-coding 30% (randomly selected) of the data to establish reliability of the coding scheme. We will analyze the types of reasoning children use based on model’s level of confidence (confident, hesitant) and the domain of knowledge (factual, moral).

This research will shed light on children’s ability to evaluate an informant’s credibility depending upon the context, and the reasoning underlying those judgments. This research will advance knowledge in how and why children use confidence cues about individuals’ credibility when determining who is a trustworthy source of new information.