If you’re stupid, little kids will see it… what I’d like to see next is an expansion of this study to show the relationship between stupid people and their toddler-age children.
Infants of just 14 months already have a nonsense-detector that alerts them to unreliable people, from whom they’ll no longer bother taking lessons.
Diane Poulin-Dubois demonstrated this in a study with 60 infants. In one “reliable” condition, the researcher smiled and exclaimed with delight on discovering a toy in a container, before then passing it to the infant to inspect. In the other “unreliable” condition, the researcher similarly expressed delight but there was in fact no toy. This was repeated several times.
“Infants seem to perceive reliable adults as capable of rational action, whose novel, unfamiliar behaviour is worth imitating,” the researchers said. “In contrast, the same behaviour performed by a previously unreliable adult is interpreted as irrational or inefficient, thus not worthy of imitating.”