Can children resist making interpretations when uncertain?

Sarah Beck, Elizabeth Robinson, MM Freeth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


In two experiments, we examined young children's ability to delay a response to ambiguous input. In Experiment 1, 5- and 6-year-olds performed as poorly when they needed to choose between basing an interpretation on ambiguous input and delaying an interpretation as when making explicit evaluations of knowledge, whereas 7- and 8-year-olds found the former task easy. In Experiment 2, 5- and 6-year-olds performed well on a task that required delaying a response but removed the need to decide between strategies. We discuss children's difficulty with ambiguity in terms of the decision-making demands made by different procedures. These demands appear to cause particular problems for young children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-270
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2008


  • implicit and explicit understanding
  • knowledge
  • ambiguity


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