chapter  4
14 Pages

Inquiring minds: using questions to gather information from others


Children are frequently faced with problems that they cannot immediately solve on their own. For some of these problems, children can learn from listening to claims and advice from others. Indeed, sometimes they need not do anything but passively attend to what they are told or what they overhear to learn something new (e.g., Mills, Danovitch, Grant, & Elashi, 2012). However, in many other situations, children must actively seek information from others by asking questions. Although prior work has shown that children begin to ask questions at a very young age (Chouinard, 2007 includes a substantial review), less is known about the extent to which they can use questions as tools to gather information from appropriate sources for problem solving and learning. How adept are children at formulating effective questions and seeking out enough information to resolve their problems? How much do they take into account the trustworthiness or reliability of an informant when deciding whether or not to ask that informant questions? This chapter examines developmental and individual differences in the ability to question the most knowledgeable, accurate sources when problem solving.