Who should I tell? Young children correct and maintain others’ beliefs about the self


We care tremendously about what other people think of us. Motivated by two lines of prior work -- children's inferential and communicative capacities and strategic reputation management -- we examine how children infer what others think of them given others' observations of their performance, and how they influence these beliefs through disclosing their performance. In Experiment 1, 3-5 year-olds played a luck-based game; one confederates watched the child win and another confederate watched the child lose. We asked the child to disclose an additional, unobserved win to one of the two confederates. We find that younger children overwhelmingly choose the person who previously saw them win. However, as age increased, children were more likely to choose to disclose to someone who previously saw them lose. In Experiment 2, adults played a similar third person version and selectively chose the person who saw the main character previously lose.

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