Children’s understanding of when a person’s confidence and hesitancy is a cue to their credibility

Susan A.J. Birch, Rachel L. Severson, Adam Baimel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The most readily-observable and influential cue to one’s credibility is their confidence. Although one’s confidence correlates with knowledge, one should not always trust confident sources or disregard hesitant ones. Three experiments (N = 662; 3- to 12-year-olds) examined the developmental trajectory of children’s understanding of ‘calibration’: whether a person’s confidence or hesitancy correlates with their knowledge. Experiments 1 and 2 provide evidence that children use a person’s history of calibration to guide their learning. Experiments 2 and 3 revealed a developmental progression in calibration understanding: Children preferred a well-calibrated over a miscalibrated confident person by around 4 years, whereas even 7- to 8-year-olds were insensitive to calibration in hesitant people. The widespread implications for social learning, impression formation, and social cognition are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0227026
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

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