Goal-adaptiveness in children's cue-based information search

AbstractThis paper investigates the emergence and development of children's ability to adapt their information search to different goals. In Study 1, 3- to 7-year-olds had to decide whether to study the arms or legs of two monsters to predict which would succeed at a throwing vs. jumping challenge. Children's ability to adaptively select the relevant piece of information and tailor their search to the given goal increased with age, surpassing chance level around 4;6. Study 2 investigated additional adaptation to distributions of, e.g., long arms in the search domain. Preliminary results confirm the observed developmental trend in search adaptiveness and effectiveness, suggesting an ability to tailor information search to the relevant distributions in the environment. These studies provide first insights into the development of adaptive information search given complex goals, deepening our understanding of this key aspect of learning, judgment and decision-making.

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