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Butler, Lucas Payne; Schmidt, Marco F. H.; Tavassolie, Nadia S.; Gibbs, Hailey M. (2018): Children's evaluation of verified and unverified claims. In: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, Vol. 176: pp. 73-83
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Critical to children's learning is the ability to judiciously select what information to accept-to use as the basis for learning and inference-and what information to reject. This becomes especially difficult in a world increasingly inundated with information, where children must carefully reason about the process by which claims are made in order to acquire accurate knowledge. In two experiments, we investigated whether 3- to 7-year-old children (N = 120) understand that factual claims based on verified evidence are more acceptable than claims that have not been sufficiently verified. We found that even at preschool age, children evaluated verified claims as more acceptable 'than insufficiently verified claims, and that the extent to which they did so was related to their explicit understanding, as evident in their explanations of why those claims were more or less acceptable. These experiments lay the groundwork for an important line of research studying the roots and development of this foundational critical thinking skill.