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Abstract: Research has found that children use the patterns of others' behaviors to attribute them to either a personal or a situational cause. Here, we explore whether children integrate this pattern information with verbal framing (Study 1) and prior knowledge (Study 2) when reasoning about social causes, as they do when reasoning about physical causes. Across both studies, children provided ... read moreexplanations for and predictions about characters' behaviors, which varied by pattern to suggest either a personal or situational cause or neither. In Study 1 (n = 218 four- and six-year-olds), the verbal framing of these behaviors also varied to suggest either a personal or situational cause or neither. In Study 2 (n = 120 four-year-olds), the stereotypicality of the behaviors also varied to either align or not align with gender stereotypes. Results showed that children use verbal framing and prior knowledge jointly with pattern information to inform their social causal judgments.
Thesis (M.S.)--Tufts University, 2018.
Submitted to the Dept. of Psychology.
Advisor: Paul Muentener.
Committee: Jessica Remedios, and Kristin Shutts.
Keywords: Psychology, Cognitive psychology, and Developmental psychology.read less