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Adaptive values of children's self-overestimation

  • THE KOREAN JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY
  • 2005, 18(4), pp.35-49
  • Publisher : The Korean Society For Developmental Psychology
  • Research Area : Social Science > Psychological Science

Shin, Hye Eun 1 David, F. Bjorklund 2

1숭의여자대학
2Florida Atlantic University

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Two studies investigated the functional value of children's poor metacognition by examining how adults perceive such self-overestimation. In Study 1, adults read scenarios about 7- and 10-year-old children who were either accurate or overestimated their performance on a memory task. They were then asked to rate these hypothetical children in terms of intellectual, social, and personality characteristics. Parents and teachers thought that the young children who overestimated their performance were more vulnerable, helpless, and imaginative, but less smart and independent than accurate one. In Study 2, adults were asked which of two children (one who overestimated his/her performance and one who was accurate) they would prefer to baby sit for. Although adults chose the accurate and overestimating children with comparable frequency, they professed different reasons for their choices. Moreover, this tendency varied with children's age. We suggest that children's overestimation of their ability may reflect an ontogenetic adaptation, which serves an adaptive function early in development, in part, by endearing them to adults.

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