British Journal of Developmental Psychology

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Volume 33 Issue 1 (March 2015), Pages 1-157

Young children's beliefs about self‐disclosure of performance failure and success (pages 123-135)

Self‐disclosure of performance information involves the balancing of instrumental, learning benefits (e.g., obtaining help) against social costs (e.g., diminished reputation). Little is known about young children's beliefs about performance self‐disclosure. The present research investigates preschool‐ and early school‐age children's expectations of self‐disclosure in different contexts. In two experiments, 3‐ to 7‐year‐old children (total = 252) heard vignettes about characters who succeeded or failed at solving a puzzle. Both experiments showed that children across all ages reasoned that people are more likely to self‐disclose positive than negative performances, and Experiment 2 showed that children across all ages reasoned that people are more likely to self‐disclose both positive and negative performances in a supportive than an unsupportive peer environment. Additionally, both experiments revealed changes with age – Younger children were less likely to expect people to withhold their performance information (of both failures and successes) than older children. These findings point to the preschool ages as a crucial beginning to children's developing recognition of people's reluctance to share performance information.

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