Do children start out thinking they don't know their own minds?

Mind and Language 24 (3):328-346 (2009)
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Various researchers have suggested that below 7 years of age children do not recognize that they are the authority on knowledge about themselves, a suggestion that seems counter-intuitive because it raises the possibility that children do not appreciate their privileged first-person access to their own minds. Unlike previous research, children in the current investigation quantified knowledge and even 5-year-olds tended to assign relatively more to themselves than to an adult (Studies 1 and 2). Indeed, children's estimations were different from ratings made by their mothers: Their mothers sometimes rated themselves as knowing more about their child than they rated their child as knowing (Study 2). While previous research seemed to suggest that children shift from viewing their mother to viewing themselves as the authority on knowledge about them (the children), these new findings surprisingly suggest the opposite.



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