• Verbal Information Hinders Young Children's Ability to Gain Modality Specific Knowledge

      Waters, Gillian M.; Beck, S.R. (2015-10-02)
      In two experiments, we investigated whether having prior experience of objects influenced young children's ability to solve a metacognitive search task, based on the objects' perceptual properties. In Experiment 1, 100 children (mean age 77months) chose whether to look or feel to locate one of two hidden balls (identifiable by sight or touch). Before choosing, children were told about the balls' perceptual properties (i.e. their colour and feel'), and/or saw and touched them, or had no pre-trial experience of them at all. Children who only had self-directed contact with the balls performed best, but children who heard the objects described by an adult performed relatively poorly. In Experiment 2, 116 children (mean age 72months) either heard only relevant, relevant and irrelevant, or no information about the objects before completing the task. Verbal descriptions of the balls (whether or not they contained irrelevant information) caused children difficulties.