How children reason about evidence in a social world
A common metaphor for thinking about cognitive development is the "little scientist." On this view, children approach the world much like scientists do: formulating hypotheses, generating and keeping track of data, and making inductive inferences on the basis of that data. But this view often misses the fact that science is a fundamentally social process, with the evidence we notice, pay attention to, and use as the basis for inference shaped by social context in which they encounter it. In this talk, I will discuss two lines of research showing how children reason about what I call the social history of evidence. I will show both that children use social cues to guide their reasoning from evidence, and that children use their understanding of evidence and inference to guide their social reasoning. I will conclude by discussing implications for science education and science literacy.
Dr. Lucas Butler is an Assistant Professor of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology at the University of Maryland.
This event is open to the public.