卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief

Is the extent of self-overestimation different between Chinese and Dutch children?

In the past few decades, there have been multiple studies showing that children often feel overconfident about their own competencies regarding handling new tasks and challenges. A recent study published in Child Development investigated the extent of self-overestimation among youngsters growing up in China and children in the Netherlands.

Using both a memory task and a motor task, the researchers tracked the discrepancies between students’ estimated and actual performance across task trials. Two psychological explanations were explored:

  • monitoring deficiency: young children are not yet capable of reliably monitoring and retaining information about their abilities and past performances.
  • wishful thinking: young children often fail to reliably distinguish between their wishes and their expectations.

Participants were children around aged 4 to 5. The study analyzed data from about 100 Chinese children from an urban area (Wenzhou City) and about 91 to 94 children from the Netherlands.  Children estimated the distance regarding ball throwing, and the number of picture cards they could recall correctly. Four trials were conducted for each task, and prior results would be shown to children to make further estimations. In addition, experimenters asked children to estimate performances of their peer in a similar fashion to estimating their own performances for both tasks.

  • For the motor task, children overestimated their performance to be more than twice as high as their actual performance.
  • For the memory task, children also overestimated their performance (about 61% higher).
  • There was no evidence of cultural difference between the Dutch and the Chinese on children’s self-overestimation of performance for both tasks.
  • Significant correlations were found between actual performance on a trial and the subsequent estimations of the motor task (r = 0.46 to 0.54), but not of the memory task (r = -0.09 to 0.02).
  • Children overestimated their peer’s performance on both tasks (motor task: about 88%; memory task: about 98%). There was no evidence that children overestimated their own performance more than their peer’s performance.
  • Descriptively, the Chinese children tended to estimate their own performance worse than the performance of their peer, while the Dutch children estimated their own performance better than the performance of their peer for both tasks.

The results suggested that children make little use of prior performances to inform their subsequent performance estimates. Furthermore, the results were inconsistent with the wishful thinking explanation since children estimated their peer’s performance as no less than their own. Researchers also pointed out that it is difficult for children this age to estimate a peer’s performance.

 

Source (Open Access): Xia, M., Poorthuis, A. M. G., Zhou, Q., & Thomaes, S. (2021). Young children’s overestimation of performance: A cross‐cultural comparison. Child Development, cdev.13709. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.13709

Leave a Comment

發表評論