A single interaction affects the way a child seeks information, study finds

Sep 01, 2010

Seven-year-old children only need to interact with a person once to learn who to trust and seek information from, according to a study by Queen's University researchers.

"It shows that kids really pay attention to people's accuracy and they don't forget it, even after interacting with that person one time," says psychology professor Stanka Fitneva, who conducted the study with graduate student Kristen Dunfield.

The study tested , seven-year-olds and four-years-olds by asking a question and then having two people on a computer screen give a right and wrong answer.

When a second question was asked and participants were told they could only ask one person for the answer, the adults and seven year olds always choose to ask the person who previously gave the right answer. The result of four-year olds varied on the way the question was asked, showing that four year olds generally need more than a single encounter to affect the way they seek information from people.

While there have been studies before on how kids react to multiple exposures from people, this study focused on how one sentence from a person affects the way children seek information.

There were three different experiments conducted during the study.

The findings are published in the September issue of .

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