Exploring The Relationship Between Preschoolers’ Preference for Causal Information and Systemizing Questionnaire
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The goal of this project is to better understand the factors that may influence a young child’s preference for causal information. Specifically, is a child’s preference for causal information related to having a systemizing mindset, or are these two separable constructs? To explore this question, we looked at 30 preschoolers’ ( M age = 3.45 yrs) performance on a task measuring causal preference and a systemizing questionnaire completed by a parent. The causal preference task was administered on a touch screen computer and each trial featured a novel animal or object. For each of 8 trials, children could choose to either press a button and hear causal information about the item, or press another button that covered the image to reveal hidden visual properties of item. In addition, parents completed the Systemizing Questionnaire (Baron-Cohen, 2003) which measures a child’s drive to analyze and explore systems or extract underlying rules that govern the behavior of a system. Preliminary analyses show that overall, the two measures are not correlated ( r = -0.17 , p = .36). This suggests that a child’s preference for causal information is not related to the degree to which they systemize. These results represent a first step towards understanding the nature of a child’s preference or heightened interest in causal information as a unique domain.