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    Infants track the reliability of potential informants

    Tummeltshammer, Kristen S. and Wu, Rachel and Sobel, D.M. and Kirkham, Natasha Z. (2014) Infants track the reliability of potential informants. Psychological Science 25 (9), pp. 1730-1738. ISSN 0956-7976.

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    Across two eye-tracking experiments, we showed that infants are sensitive to the statistical reliability of informative cues and selective in their use of information generated by such cues. We familiarized 8-month-olds with faces (Experiment 1) or arrows (Experiment 2) that cued the locations of animated animals with different degrees of reliability. The reliable cue always cued a box containing an animation, whereas the unreliable cue cued a box that contained an animation only 25% of the time. At test, infants searched longer in the boxes that were reliably cued, but did not search longer in the boxes that were unreliably cued. At generalization, when boxes were cued that never contained animations before, only infants in the face experiment followed the reliable cue. These results provide the first evidence that even young infants can track the reliability of potential informants and use this information judiciously to modify their future behavior.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): cognitive development, social cognition, learning
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2014 10:16
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:11


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