Young Children’s Deference to a Consensus Varies by Culture and Judgment Setting

In: Journal of Cognition and Culture

Abstract

Three- and 4-year-old Asian-American and Caucasian-American children were asked to judge which of a set of three lines was the longest, both independently and in the face of an inaccurate consensus among informants. Half of the children made their judgments privately; the other half made their judgments with the experimenter present. In the private setting, children were mostly resistant to the incorrect testimony from the consensus. By contrast, in the public setting, children were more deferential, less willing to explicitly judge the consensus members as incorrect, and more likely to misremember the consensus as having made accurate line judgments. Confirming earlier findings, deference to the consensus was greater among Asian-American children. First-generation Asian-American children were especially deferential in the public setting.

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