Dr. Ronfard attended University of Toronto's Ebbinghaus Empire Meeting this week. He presented findings from a few of his recent studies on children's testing of counter-intuitive information.
Below, you can find a brief introduction to his discussion. To find out more about his findings, check out our publications page.
Testing what you're told: The development of the empirical stance.
Children often have to trust what they are told. They cannot gather their own evidence to learn about the existence of germs, angels, or the fall of the Roman Empire. In many cases, however, children could test what they are told. For example, if presented with equal-sized cubes and told that some will float and others will sink, children could easily test that claim and learn about the role of density through observation. Do young children seize such opportunities or do they simply acquiesce to what they have been told?