The influence of authority and testimony type on selective trust in 3-5-year-old children
Researchers in this study examined Chinese young children's selective trust ability when faced with authority and rationality at the same time in an uncertain situation and explored the characteristics of selective trust ability in 3-5-year-olds by using an adapted experimental paradigm. In experiment 1, all 3-5-year-olds preferred the testimony of a more authoritative teacher over that of their peers. In experiment 2, all 3-5-year-olds preferred circular explanations over testimony supported by non-circular explanations. In experiment 3, when teachers provided circular explanations and peers provided non-circular explanations, both 4- and 5-year-olds tended to make trust judgment according to their testimony type, whereas 3-year-olds did not show a significant tendency of trust. The ability of selective trust of 4- and 5-year-olds was significantly higher than that of 3-year-olds. Thus, age 4 is a turning point in the development of infants’ selective trust.