Preschoolers use minimal statistical information to infer group membership and preferences
Natalia Vélez, PhD student with Hyowon Gweon, Department of Psychology, Stanford University
Preschoolers can use minimal information about social groups to infer individuals’ group membership and preferences
Categories organize a jumble of experiences into generalizable knowledge. For example, if a child learns that a “blicket” squeaks, she might expect the next blicket she encounters to also squeak. Just as categories like “blicket” support children’s learning about objects, social groups support learning about people. However, the very properties that make social groups a powerful tool for learning about the social world can also be a double-edged sword, supporting the formation of stereotypes and biases. How do children form representations of social groups from experience, and how do they harness these representations to learn about new individuals? In this talk, I’ll present recent work that examines how children use minimal statistical information about social groups to make inferences about new individuals. This work provides a computational account of how children harness their statistical reasoning abilities to learn about the social world.