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Rituals pose a cognitive paradox: although widely used to treat problems, rituals are causally opaque (i.e., they lack a causal explanation for their effects). How is the efficacy of ritual action evaluated in the absence of causal information? To examine this question using ecologically valid content, three studies (N=162) were conducted in Brazil, a(More)
Little is known about how components of executive function (EF) jointly and uniquely predict different aspects of academic achievement and how this may vary across cultural contexts. In the current study, 119 Chinese and 139 American preschoolers were tested on a battery of EF tasks (i.e., inhibition, working memory, and attentional control) as well as(More)
Children's assessment of the value of different sources of information about psychological traits was investigated among 6- to 7-year-olds and 10- to 11-year-olds across 5 studies (N = 330). Older children were more likely than younger children to reject self-report as a source of information about the highly evaluative traits smart and honest, but no such(More)
Three studies examined the co-existence of natural and supernatural explanations for illness and disease transmission, from a developmental perspective. The participants (5-, 7-, 11-, and 15-year-olds and adults; N = 366) were drawn from 2 Sesotho-speaking South African communities, where Western biomedical and traditional healing frameworks were both(More)
To obtain reliable information, it is important to identify and effectively question knowledgeable informants. Two experiments examined how age and the ease of distinguishing between reliable and unreliable sources influence children's ability to effectively question those sources to solve problems. A sample of 3- to 5-year-olds was introduced to a(More)
What events trigger causal explanatory reasoning in young children? Children's explanations could be triggered by either consistent events (suggesting that explanations serve a confirmatory function) or inconsistent events (suggesting that they promote discovery of new information). In 2 studies with preschool children (N = 80), events that were consistent(More)
Imitation and innovation work in tandem to support cultural learning in children and facilitate our capacity for cumulative culture. Here we propose an integrated theoretical account of how the unique demands of acquiring instrumental skills and cultural conventions provide insight into when children imitate, when they innovate, and to what degree. For(More)
Although often conceptualized in contradictory terms, the common assumption that natural and supernatural explanations are incompatible is psychologically inaccurate. Instead, there is considerable evidence that the same individuals use both natural and supernatural explanations to interpret the very same events and that there are multiple ways in which(More)
Explaining inconsistency may serve as an important mechanism for driving the process of causal learning. But how might this process generate amended beliefs? One way that explaining inconsistency may promote discovery is by guiding exploratory, hypothesis-testing behavior. In order to investigate this, a study with young children ranging in age from 2 to 6(More)
What kinds of cues increase imitative fidelity in early childhood? The effects of multiple models and verbal framing were examined in preschool children (N = 259, 3-6-year-olds). Each participant was presented with one of eight possible combinations of type of modeling and verbal frame. The type of modeling involved: (i) a single model offering two(More)