Children's sensitivity to their own relative ignorance: Handling of possibilities under epistemic and physical uncertainty

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Children more frequently specified possibilities correctly when uncertainty resided in the physical world (physical uncertainty) than in their own perspective of ignorance (epistemic uncertainty). In Experiment 1 (N=61), 4- to 6-year-olds marked both doors from which a block might emerge when the outcome was undetermined, but a single door when they knew the block was hidden behind one door. In Experiments 2 (N=30; 5- to 6-year-olds) and 3 (N=80; 5- to 8-year-olds), children placed food in both possible locations when an imaginary pet was yet to occupy one, but in a single location when the pet was already hidden in one. The results have implications for interpretive theory of mind and "curse of knowledge."


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1642-1655
Number of pages14
JournalChild Development
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2006