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Volume 13 Issue 2 (March 2010), Pages 265-406

Two‐year‐olds are vigilant of others’ non‐verbal cues to credibility (pages 363-369)


Data from three experiments provide the first evidence that children, at least as young as age two, are vigilant of others’ non‐verbal cues to credibility, and flexibly use these cues to facilitate learning. Experiment 1 revealed that 2‐ and 3‐year‐olds prefer to learn about objects from someone who appears, through non‐verbal cues, to be confident in performing actions on those objects than from someone who appears uncertain when performing actions on those objects. Experiment 2 revealed that when 2‐year‐olds observe only one model perform a single action, either confidently or unconfidently, they do not use the model’s level of confidence in this single instance to influence their learning. Experiment 3 revealed that 2‐year‐olds will use a single model’s level of confidence to guide their learning if they have observed that the model has a history of being either consistently confident or consistently uncertain. These findings reveal that young children selectively alter their learning based on others’ non‐verbal cues of credibility, and underscore the importance of an early sensitivity to socio‐cognitive cues for human learning and development.

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