Previous research has shown that children pay attention to a character’s gender, race, or age when learning new information from them. We want to find out whether these kinds of social group cues affect what children remember about the characters themselves.
In this study, we show children photographs of other children’s faces (both boys and girls with different ethnicities), and we ask them to try to remember every single face. Then we tell them a short story about the child in each picture. For example: “This little boy is walking in his neighborhood. He sees an old woman having a lot of trouble carrying a big box. This boy carries the box for the old woman to her front door.”
To find out if children remember the faces, we mix up the eight original pictures with pictures of different children, and ask children which faces they have seen before. Finally, we present the eight original pictures again, and we ask children if they would feel happy or sad if they were playing with each child.
We want to know whether children remember the faces, and whether they link these faces with various traits (for example, “good” and “bad”). We hypothesize that children may find it easiest to remember the characters that are most like them (either the same gender or the same ethnicity).
This study will give us insight into children’s ability to learn about unfamiliar people, and will help us understand how children interact with one another in social settings.
Learn about other research related to Learning From Others.
This research is conducted by the Paul Harris Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Education