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—This article examines how language affects children's inferences about novel social categories. We hypothesized that lexical-ization (using a noun label to refer to someone who possesses a certain property) would influence children's inferences about other people. Specifically, we hypothesized that when a property is lexical-ized, it is thought to be more(More)
One hundred one preschool children (ages 3 years 5 months to 4 years 10 months) participated in 3 studies examining the tendency to use verbal labels versus appearance information in making novel inductive inferences. A triad task analogous to that of S. A. Gelman and E. M. Markman (1986) was devised. Participants learned a different property for each of 2(More)
The relation between the way in which children interpret human behavior and their beliefs about the stability of human traits is investigated. In interviews with 202 7- and 8-year-olds across 2 studies, the belief that traits are stable predicted a greater tendency to make trait judgments, and an increased focus on outcomes and behaviors through which(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)
The ability of 3- and 4-year-old children to disregard advice from an overtly misleading informant was investigated across five studies (total n = 212). Previous studies have documented limitations in young children's ability to reject misleading advice. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that these limitations are primarily due to an inability(More)
The way children evaluate the reporting of peers' transgressions to authority figures was investigated. Participants, ages 6-11 years (N = 60), were presented with a series of vignettes, each of which depicted a child who committed either a minor transgression (such as not finishing the vegetables at lunch) or a more serious transgression (such as stealing(More)
Children's reasoning about the credibility of positive and negative evaluations of academic performance was examined. Across 2 studies, 7- and 10-year-olds from the United States and China (N = 334) judged the credibility of academic evaluations that were directed toward an unfamiliar peer. In Study 1, participants from China responded that criticism should(More)
Three studies investigated children's capacity to use trait labels as tools for making inferences about mental states. For example, knowledge that a story character is "nice" as opposed to "mean" could lead to predictions that the character would respond with greater negative affect upon discovering that his or her action had made someone upset. Study 1 (N(More)
Young children's reasoning about ability was investigated among 155 preschoolers (M = 4 years, 10 months) across 3 studies. Results suggest that preschoolers are sensitive to mental state information when making judgments about another child's ability: They judged a child who finds a task easy to be smarter than one who finds the same task hard. Systematic(More)
Young children's beliefs about the relationship between gender and aggression were examined across 3 studies (N=121). In Study 1, preschoolers (ages 3 to 5) described relational aggression as the most common form of aggression among girls and physical aggression as the most common form among boys. In Study 2, preschoolers and a comparison group of 7- to(More)