Can children balance the size of a majority with the quality of their information?

Abstract

We investigate how children balance the quality of informants’ knowledge with the number of endorsements, to decide which of two boxes contains the better option. When group numbers are equal, children choose boxes endorsed by informants with visual access over informants with hearsay (Experiment 1), but are at chance when group size conflicts with quality of knowledge (Experiments 2 and 3). This suggests that children tend to conform to a majority opinion, compared to adults (Experiment 4) and a normative computational model. These studies suggest that preschoolers consider the testimony of multiple informants and evaluate their knowledge sources, but may assume that informants are more individually informative than they are.


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