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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02006

Individual differences in children’s preference to learn from a confident informant

 Aimie-Lee Juteau1*, Isabelle Cossette1, Marie-Pier Millette1 and  Patricia Brosseau-Liard1
  • 1University of Ottawa, Canada

Past research has demonstrated that children can use an informant’s confidence level to selectively choose from whom to learn. Yet, in any given study, not all children show a preference to learn from the most confident informant. Are individual differences in this preference stable over time and across learning situations? In two studies, we evaluated the stability of preschoolers’ performance on selective learning tasks using confidence as a cue. The first study (N=48) presented children with the same two informants, one confident and one hesitant, and the same four test trials twice with a one-week delay between administrations. The second study (N=50) presented two parallel tasks with different pairs of informants and test trials one after the other in the same testing session. Correlations between administrations were moderate in the first study and small in the second study, suggesting that children show some stability in their preference to learn from a confident individual but that their performance is also influenced by important situational factors, measurement error or both. Implications for the study of individual differences in selective social learning are discussed.

Keywords: confidence, individual differences, selective learning, cognitive development, Child Development

Received: 10 May 2019; Accepted: 16 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Juteau, Cossette, Millette and Brosseau-Liard. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Ms. Aimie-Lee Juteau, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada, ajute095@uottawa.ca