University of Western Australia: Children needed for study exploring levels of trust

Researchers at The University of Western Australia are looking for children aged between eight and 12 years to take part in a study exploring how trust changes with age and how it can affect friendships and wellbeing.

PhD student Alex Wheeler, from UWA’s School of Psychological Science, said the study would extend our current understanding of how children’s trust in others developed by looking at an older age group than most other research.

“Previous studies suggest young children’s trust decreases between three and six as they become more discerning and learn to think more critically about what other people say,” Mr Wheeler said.

“Some concepts similar to trust change in a similar way from this age up to 12, such as critical thought, which increases, and being vulnerable in social interactions, which decreases.”

The research will also investigate children’s thoughts about trusting other children they might meet for the first time.

“This enables us to better understand the relationship between trust and the development of stable friendships and other social outcomes,” Mr Wheeler said.

“By understanding this we might be able to inform educators and other people who work with children about how children are likely to react when meeting people for the first time such as if a new child joins their school or they meet at a sports carnival.”

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