Children with immature intuitive theories seek domain-relevant information

AbstractA growing body of research suggests that infants and children are sensitive to signals of information gain. However, the value of a piece of information may also change as the learner knows more. How do changes that occur naturally in children’s intuitive theories contribute to their subsequent learning? Here we tested whether children who are at different stages of understanding an intuitive theory also differ in their interest in acquiring more information in the same domain. We tested children’s performance in three distinct domains, including intuitive biology, psychology, and beliefs about psychosomatic events. We found that children at earlier stages of their intuitive theories were more likely to seek information in the related domain than children with mature knowledge. These results are the first to show the relationship between natural changes in children’s existing knowledge and children’s future learning preferences.

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