The Influence of Power and Reason on Young Maya Children's Endorsement of Testimony
Developmental Science, (2015), pp 1-10 DOI: 10.1111/desc.12336
10 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2015
Date Written: September 11, 2015
Two important parenting strategies are to impose one’s power and to use reasoning. The effect of these strategies on children’s evaluation of testimony has received very little attention. Using the epistemic vigilance framework, we predict that when the reasoning cue is strong enough it should overcome the power cue. We test this prediction in a population for which anthropological data suggest that power is the prominent strategy while reasoning is rarely relied on in the interactions with children. In Experiment 1, 4- to 6-year-old children from a traditional Maya population are shown to endorse the testimony supported by a strong argument over that supported by a weak argument. In Experiment 2, the same participants are shown to follow the testimony of a dominant over that of a subordinate. The participants are then shown to endorse the testimony of a subordinate who provides a strong argument over that of a dominant who provides either a weak argument (Experiment 3) or no argument (Experiment 4). Thus, when the power and reasoning cues conflict, reasoning completely trumps power.
Keywords: Reasoning, Power, Testimony, Traditional cultures
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