Do Children Use Behavior to Infer Appearance? 

Adults and children are able to make face-to-trait inferences about trustworthiness, dominance, and competence. That is, they associate specific facial features (like a strong jaw line) with particular traits (like dominance). Theoretically, these inferences allow both children and adults to use facial features to make predictions about how someone will behave in the future. However, in our series of studies we are asking whether children can use others' previous behaviors to make predictions about how they might look. 

How Children Use Pointing Gestures to Learn

In addition to sharing information through spoken language, humans are quite good at learning from, and teaching, others using nonverbal communication (like pointing gestures and meaningful eye gaze). This series of studies explores how children use pointing to make decisions about who may be a good source of information and whether children’s expectations about the usefulness of pointing may lead them to over-attribute knowledge to others. 

Children’s Expectations about Pointing

Previous work has found that children often assume that pointing gestures are truthful and helpful, even in situations where someone providing the gesture might not have any reliable information to provide. The belief is that children’s expectations about pointing are so strong, they sometimes override their ability to effectively evaluate various learning situations. This series of studies is exploring other kinds of expectations that children have about the gesture. For instance, do they believe it can only be used to affirm information? Or do they believe that pointing can also be used to negate something as well?