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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)
Preschool-age children's reasoning about the reliability of deceptive sources was investigated. Ninety 3- to 5-year-olds watched several trials in which an informant gave advice about the location of a hidden sticker. Informants were either helpers who were happy to give correct advice, or trickers who were happy to give incorrect advice. Three-year-olds(More)
Reasoning about evaluative traits was investigated among a group of 7- and 8-year-olds (N = 34), a group of 11- to 13-year olds (N = 25), and a group of adults (N = 23) to determine whether their inferences would be sensitive to the valence of social and academic traits. Four aspects of trait-relevant beliefs were examined: (1) malleability, (2) stability(More)
The development of children's reasoning about the origins of human psychological traits was investigated across 4 studies with a total of 316 participants ranging in age from kindergartners to 5th graders and adults. The primary methodology was a switched-at-birth task (L. A. Hirschfeld, 1995), which poses a hypothetical nature-nurture conflict. Two major(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)
A key component of critical thinking is the ability to evaluate the statements of other people. Because information that is obtained from others is not always accurate, it is important that children learn to reason about it critically. By as early as age 3, children understand that people sometimes communicate inaccurate information and that some(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)