ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2017, Vol. 49 ›› Issue (8): 1053-1062.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2017.01053

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 Trust and subsequent use of oral and print information for 4~6 year-old children

 LIU Baogen1; LI Feifei1; LI Ruiqin1; JIANG Hui 2   

  1. (1 Hangzhou College of Preschool Teacher Education, Zhejiang Normal University, Hangzhou, 311231, China) (2 Crane Center of Early Childhood Research and Policy, Ohio State University, Columbus, 43202, USA)
  • Received:2016-05-03 Published:2017-08-25 Online:2017-06-25
  • Contact: LI Feifei, E-mail: E-mail: E-mail:
  • Supported by:

Abstract:  Children have many opportunities to learn from others through oral and printed sources. A few recent studies investigating children’s trust in printed versus oral information suggested that as soon as children acquired the basic reading ability, they placed more trust in printed over oral testimony when learning names for unfamiliar objects. Previous studies have shown that a proportion of the information that early readers gained from printed sources might be fragile and lost once the printed label is no longer present, but those studies have not examined young children’s subsequent use of the accepted oral or printed information. The current experiments examine whether Chinese young children from 4 to 6 years old trust the printed information more than oral information, to what extent the young children extend their new knowledge to subsequent circumstances, and the effects of reading ability on initial trust and subsequent use. In this study, 125 Chinese young children from 4 to 6 years of age were tested. Each child completed four tasks: the reading ability task, the hybrid sorting task, the short-term recognition task of hybrid pictures (3 minutes after the sorting task), and the long-term recognition task (2 weeks later). Children’s reading ability was evaluated by a single-word recognition test involving words from the hybrid sorting task. For the hybrid sorting task, children were presented with pictures of hybrid creatures that looked more like one of two species, and had the opportunity to accept or reject an oral or printed label that referred to the perceptually non–dominant species. For the recognition tasks, children were asked to name the same set of hybrid creatures or sort them to the related locations. We analyzed the experimental data using hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) (score level and individual level) to investigate the contribution of information type, reading ability and age to children’s initial trust of information, children’s recognition of hybrid pictures in the short term and in the long term. We found that Chinese young children trusted both oral and printed labels in the original sorting tasks: There’s no significant main effects of information type, age, or reading ability on children’s trust in oral or printed information, but the interaction between reading ability and information type predicts children’s trust. Using simple slope analysis we found that all children trusted the printed information, while higher-level readers were more likely to reject the oral information than lower-level readers. Despite of prior great trust of information in the original sorting tasks, young children seldom applied the information to the subsequent short-term or long-term tasks. However, they tended to apply more printed information than oral information in the long run. There were interaction effects of reading ability and information type on children’s subsequent use of information both in the short-term and in the long- term. Specifically, lower level readers were more likely to use the oral information than the higher level readers in the short term, while higher-level reader were more likely to use the printed information than the lower-level readers in the long run. The role of print awareness in the relationship between reading ability and children’s trust and subsequent use of information was discussed.

Key words:  trust, spoken information, printed information, reading ability

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