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  • Bazhydai_InformationSeeking_DevSci

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“I don’t know but I know who to ask”: 12-month-olds actively seek information from knowledgeable adults

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>12/01/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Developmental Science
Publication statusAccepted/In press
Original languageEnglish


Active social communication is an effective way for infants to learn about the world. Do pre-verbal and pre-pointing infants seek epistemic information from their social partners when motivated to obtain information they cannot discover independently? The present study investigated whether 12-month-olds (N = 30) selectively seek information from knowledgeable adults in situations of referential uncertainty. In a live experiment, infants were introduced to two unfamiliar adults, an Informant (reliably labeling objects) and a Non-Informant (equally socially engaging, but ignorant about object labels). At test, infants were asked to make an impossible choice - locate a novel referent among two novel objects. When facing epistemic uncertainty – but not at other phases of the procedure - infants selectively referred to the Informant rather than the Non-Informant. These results show that pre-verbal infants use social referencing to actively and selectively seek information from social partners as part of their interrogative communicative toolkit.