Foundations of intuitive power analyses in children and adults

Nature human behaviour(2022)

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Decades of research indicate that some of the epistemic practices that support scientific enquiry emerge as part of intuitive reasoning in early childhood. Here, we ask whether adults and young children can use intuitive statistical reasoning and metacognitive strategies to estimate how much information they might need to solve different discrimination problems, suggesting that they have some of the foundations for ‘intuitive power analyses’. Across five experiments, both adults ( N = 290) and children ( N = 48, 6–8 years) were able to precisely represent the relative difficulty of discriminating populations and recognized that larger samples were required for populations with greater overlap. Participants were sensitive to the cost of sampling, as well as the perceptual nature of the stimuli. These findings indicate that both young children and adults metacognitively represent their own ability to make discriminations even in the absence of data, and can use this to guide efficient and effective exploration.
Human behaviour,Psychology,Life Sciences,general,Behavioral Sciences,Neurosciences,Microeconomics,Personality and Social Psychology,Experimental Psychology
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