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The boss is always right: Preschoolers endorse the testimony of a dominant over that of a subordinate

2016-10-16, Bernard, Stephane, Castelain, Thomas, Kaufmann, Laurence, Mercier, Hugo, Van der Henst, Jean-Baptiste, Clément, Fabrice

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Wishful Thinking in Preschoolers

2016-1-1, Bernard, Stephane, Clément, Fabrice, Mercier, Hugo

The current experiment sought to demonstrate the presence of wishful thinking—when wishes influence beliefs—in young children. A sample of 77 preschoolers needed to predict, eight times in a row, which of two plastic eggs, one containing one toy and the other containing three toys, would be drawn by a blinded experimenter. On the four trials in which the children could not keep the content of the egg drawn, they were equally likely to predict that either egg would be drawn. By contrast, on the four trials in which the children got to keep the content of the egg, they were more likely to predict that the egg with three toys would be drawn. Any effort the children exerted would be the same across condi- tions, so that this demonstration of wishful thinking cannot be accounted for by an effort heuristic. One group of children—a sub- group of the 5-year-olds—did not engage in wishful thinking. Children from this subgroup instead used the representativeness heuristic to guide their answers. This result suggests that having an explicit representation of the outcome inhibits children from engaging in wishful thinking in the same way as explicit representations constrain the operation of motivated reasoning in adults.

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Métadonnées seulement

Four- to 6-year-old children's sensitivity to reliability versus consensus in the endorsement of object labels

2015-3-23, Bernard, Stephane, Proust, Joëlle, Clément, Fabrice

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Rousseau's Child : Preschoolers Expect Strangers to Favor Prosocial Actions

2014, Clément, Fabrice, Harris, Paul, Bernard, Stephane, Antonietti, Jean-Philippe, Kaufmann, Laurence

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Visual Access Trumps Gender in 3- and 4-year-old Children's Endorsement of Testimony

2016-6-13, Terrier, Nathalie, Bernard, Stephane, Mercier, Hugo, Clément, Fabrice

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Procedural Metacognition and False Belief Understanding in 3- to 5-year-old Children

2015-10-30, Bernard, Stephane, Proust, Joelle, Clément, Fabrice

Some studies, so far limited in number, suggest the existence of procedural metacognition in young children, that is, the practical capacity to monitor and control one’s own cognitive activity in a given task. The link between procedural metacognition and false belief understanding is currently under theoretical discussion. If data with primates seem to indicate that procedural metacognition and false belief understanding are not related, no study in developmental psychology has investigated this relation in young children. The present paper aims, first, to supplement the findings concerning young children’s abilities to monitor and control their uncertainty (procedural metacognition) and, second, to explore the relation between procedural metacognition and false belief understanding. To examine this, 82 3- to 5-year-old children were presented with an opt-out task and with 3 false belief tasks. Results show that children can rely on procedural metacognition to evaluate their perceptual access to information, and that success in false belief tasks does not seem related to success in the task we used to evaluate procedural metacognition. These results are coherent with a procedural view of metacognition, and are discussed in the light of recent data from primatology and developmental psychology.

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The medium helps the message: Early sensitivity to auditory fluency in children's endorsement of statements

2014-12-4, Bernard, Stephane, Proust, Joëlle, Clément, Fabrice

Recently, a growing number of studies have investigated the cues used by children to selectively accept testimony. In parallel, several studies with adults have shown that the fluency with which information is provided influences message evaluation: adults evaluate fluent information as more credible than dysfluent information. It is therefore plausible that the fluency of a message could also influence children’s endorsement of statements. Three experiments were designed to test this hypothesis with 3- to 5-year-olds where the auditory fluency of a message was manipulated by adding different levels of noise to recorded statements. The results show that 4 and 5-year-old children, but not 3-year-olds, are more likely to endorse a fluent statement than a dysfluent one. The present study constitutes a first attempt to show that fluency, i.e., ease of processing, is recruited as a cue to guide epistemic decision in children. An interpretation of the age difference based on the way cues are processed by younger children is suggested.

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Rules Trump Desires in Preschoolers' Predictions of Group Behavior

2016-4-17, Bernard, Stephane, Clément, Fabrice, Kaufmann, Laurence

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Children Weigh the Number of Informants and Perceptual Uncertainty When Identifying Objects

2015-8-23, Bernard, Stephane, Terrier, Nathalie, Harris, Paul, L, Clément, Fabrice

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Early sensitivity to arguments: How preschoolers weight circular arguments

2014, Mercier, Hugo, Bernard, Stephane, Clément, Fabrice

Observational studies suggest that children as young as 2 years can evaluate some of the arguments people offer them. However, experimental studies of sensitivity to different arguments have not yet targeted children younger than 5 years. The current study aimed at bridging this gap by testing the ability of preschoolers (3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds) to weight arguments. To do so, it focused on a common type of fallacy?circularity?to which 5-year-olds are sensitive. The current experiment asked children?and, as a group control, adults?to choose between the contradictory opinions of two speakers. In the first task, participants of all age groups favored an opinion supported by a strong argument over an opinion supported by a circular argument. In the second task, 4- and 5-year-olds, but not 3-year-olds or adults, favored the opinion supported by a circular argument over an unsupported opinion. We suggest that the results of these tasks in 3- to 5-year-olds are best interpreted as resulting from the combination of two mechanisms: (a) basic skills of argument evaluations that process the content of arguments, allowing children as young as 3 years to favor non-circular arguments over circular arguments, and (b) a heuristic that leads older children (4- and 5-year-olds) to give some weight to circular arguments, possibly by interpreting these arguments as a cue to speaker dominance.