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Köksal, Özgün; Sodian, Beate ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1844-5908 and Legare, Cristine H. (May 2021): Young children’s metacognitive awareness of confounded evidence. In: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, Vol. 205, 105080

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Young children selectively explore confounded evidence—when causality is ambiguous due to multiple candidate causes. This suggests that they have an implicit understanding that confounded evidence is uninformative. This study examined explicit understanding, or metacognitive awareness, of the informativeness of different qualities of evidence during early childhood. In two within-participants conditions, children (N = 60 5- and 6-year-olds) were presented with confounded and unconfounded evidence and were asked to evaluate and explain their knowledge of a causal relation. Children more frequently requested further information in the confounded condition than in the unconfounded condition. Nearly half of them referred to multiple candidate causes when explaining confounded evidence. Our data demonstrate that young children can reason explicitly about the informativeness of different kinds of evidence.

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