Review of Philosophy and Psychology

, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 551-561

First online:

Children’s Selective Learning from Others

  • Erika NurmsooAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, University of Kent Email author 
  • , Elizabeth J. RobinsonAffiliated withUniversity of Warwick
  • , Stephen A. ButterfillAffiliated withUniversity of Warwick

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Psychological research into children’s sensitivity to testimony has primarily focused on their ability to judge the likely reliability of speakers. However, verbal testimony is only one means by which children learn from others. We review recent research exploring children’s early social referencing and imitation, as well as their sensitivity to speakers’ knowledge, beliefs, and biases, to argue that children treat information and informants with reasonable scepticism. As children’s understanding of mental states develops, they become ever more able to critically evaluate whether to believe new information.