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Young Children’s Trust in the False Testimony of ingroup versus outgroup speakers

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posted on 2022-11-16, 17:03 authored by Kyla McDonald
The present research explores whether young children display different levels of trust in the testimony of speakers from their own social group (ingroups) versus another social group (outgroups). Three- and 4-year-old children watched through a window as an adult hid a toy in one of three containers. The adult then told the child that she had put the toy in a container different from the one where it was actually hidden (i.e., false testimony). At the end the child was asked to retrieve the toy. The adult was either a Caucasian, native English speaker ingroup) or an Asian English speaker with a noticeable foreign accent (outgroup). Four-year-old children were credulous to the false testimony of the ingroup speaker, despite their firsthand observations, but were skeptical and relied on their own observations when the false testimony was provided by the outgroup speaker. In contrast, 3-year-old children remained credulous to the false testimony of both speakers. These findings were discussed in relation to children’s early preferences for ingroup members and the developmental shift in skepticism displayed by 4-year-old, but not 3-year-old children. This research will make a unique contribution to our understanding of how young children selectively learn from other people and why they remain credulous to some speakers, but not to others.



Master of Arts



Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type