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Practice what you preach!: the role of informants' consistency on preschooler's selective trust

Grant number: 17/26886-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2018
Effective date (End): March 31, 2019
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Human Development Psychology
Principal Investigator:Débora de Hollanda Souza
Grantee:Virginia Battistelli Celestino
Host Institution: Centro de Educação e Ciências Humanas (CECH). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil


Children learn much about the world and about how it works not only from direct experience, but also from other people's testimony. In contrast to a predominant view in many cultures that children believe in everything they hear, recent research on selective trust demonstrate that they are not naïve consumers of information. For example, there is now evidence suggesting that 3- and 4-year-old children prefer to learn something new from someone who has consistently provided correct information in the past, and not from someone who often provides inaccurate information. Moreover, they prefer to learn from someone who is a specialist in the topic area to be learned, someone who shows more confidence in his testimony, or someone who presents himself as intelligent, honest and kind. One aspect of selective trust development that remains unexplored, however, regards how it relates to children's ability to detect the correspondence between a speaker's testimony and his behavior. Do children take into consideration evidence of correspondence (or contradiction) between what speakers say (e.g., "You should never lie!), and what they do to make decisions about whether they should or should not trust these informants? Following a study conducted by the candidate's advisor at the Institute of Child Development (UMN, FAPESP # No 2013/11050-9), the present research proposal aims to investigate whether preschool Brazilian children consider inconsistencies between behavior and speech, (e.g., "Do as I say, not as I do") when making decisions about whom to trust in a learning task. (AU)

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