Elementary school children's ability to distinguish hypothetical beliefs from statements of preference
AuthorDiakidoy, Irene-Anna N.
SourceJournal of educational psychology
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The authors examined students' understanding of hypotheses as beliefs that can be empirically verified. Thirty second graders and 30 sixth graders considered cases of disagreement about foods and colors that reflected either alternative hypotheses or different preferences, Their task was to decide whether the validity of each expressed belief could be determined and to justify their decision. Younger students considered both hypotheses and preferences as empirically verifiable, whereas older students were better able to recognize in some cases that preferences are legitimately variable. This lack of distinction may reflect limited metaconceptual ability or a deterministic epistemological view, both of which might interfere with the understanding of the hypothesis-testing process.