Children use agents’ response time to distinguish between memory and novel inference

AbstractPsychologists frequently use response time to study cognitive processes, but response time may also be a part of the commonsense psychology that allows us to make inferences about other agents’ mental processes. We present evidence that by age six, children expect that solutions to a complex problem can be produced quickly if already memorized, but not if they need to be solved for the first time. We suggest that children could use response times to evaluate agents’ competence and expertise, as well as to assess the value and relevance of information.

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