hierarchical belief structure's developmental psychology



"We predicted that children’s endorsements will conform to a hierarchical pattern consistent with the degree to which agents are culturally and evidentially supported." https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0234142

"I don't think it's a coincidence that [rituals] are so often linked to religions and invisible things like values and beliefs, and it seems like very fertile soil to begin to understand how children reconcile reality," he said. "Santa and the Easter Bunny are easy examples, but children have to grapple with more complex things, like dinosaurs, or the presence of a contagion in our world. We don't get direct evidence of it, and so we look to people's behaviors to inform our beliefs, based on their behaviors and beliefs."

"The hierarchy is important because not all forms of evidence in our world are equal," said Kapitany. In the case of testimony, for instance, "I can tell you that pigs fly, but you're not going to believe that until you have some direct evidence of it." He believes costly actions, often in the form of rituals, are among the highest forms of evidence in this hierarchy. "You can get belief without rituals, but rituals are particularly useful in providing beliefs," https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/12/study-childrens-belief-in-santa-claus-is-more-nuanced-than-you-think

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