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Social-cognitive processes in preschoolers' selective trust: Three cultures compared

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date03/2013
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Journal number3
Volume49
Number of pages12
Pages579-590
Early online date3/09/12
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Research on preschoolers' selective learning has mostly been conducted in English-speaking countries. We compared the performance of Turkish preschoolers (who are exposed to a language with evidential markers), Chinese preschoolers (known to be advanced in executive skills), and English preschoolers on an extended selective trust task (N = 144). We also measured children's executive function skills and their ability to attribute false belief. Overall we found a Turkish (rather than a Chinese) advantage in selective trust and a relationship between selective trust and false belief (rather than executive function). This is the 1st evidence that exposure to a language that obliges speakers to state the sources of their knowledge may sensitize preschoolers to informant reliability. It is also the first demonstration of an association between false belief and selective trust. Together these findings suggest that effective selective learning may progress alongside children's developing capacity to assess the knowledge of others.