Cultural Variations in the Curse of Knowledge: The Curse of Knowledge Bias in Children from a Nomadic Pastoralist Culture in Kenya

Siba Ghrear, Maciej Chudek, Klint Fung, Sarah Mathew, Susan A.J. Birch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We examined the universality of the curse of knowledge (i.e., the tendency to be biased by one's knowledge when inferring other perspectives) by investigating it in a unique cross-cultural sample; a nomadic Nilo-Saharan pastoralist society in East Africa, the Turkana. Forty Turkana children were asked eight factual questions and asked to predict how widely-known those facts were among their peers. To test the effect of their knowledge, we taught children the answers to half of the questions, while the other half were unknown. Based on findings suggesting the bias's universality, we predicted that children would estimate that more of their peers would know the answers to the questions that were taught versus the unknown questions. We also predicted that with age children would become less biased by their knowledge. In contrast, we found that only Turkana males were biased by their knowledge when inferring their peers' perspectives, and the bias did not change with age. We discuss the implications of these findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)366-384
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Cognition and Culture
Volume19
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • culture
  • curse of knowledge
  • hindsight bias
  • knowledge attribution
  • social cognition
  • theory of mind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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