Mills, Candice M.

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Candice Mills serves as an Associate Professor and Psychological Sciences Program Head. She is also the director of UTD's Think Lab. Dr. Mills' research "focuses on understanding how children learn from others. Successful learning requires children to recognize when they do not know something, to decide how to gather the information they need, and to evaluate the quality of information they receive."

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One of six scientists from six U.S. universities coast to coast who in 2020 joined forces to launch the Children Helping Science project, which is designed to increase participation in online developmental psychology studies. Read more.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
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    "I Want to Know More!": Children are Sensitive to Explanation Quality when Exploring New Information
    (Wiley, 2019-01) Mills, Candice M.; Sands, Kaitlin R.; Rowles, Sydney P.; Campbell, Ian L.; 0000-0002-0820-9162 (Mills, CM); Mills, Candice M.; Sands, Kaitlin R.; Rowles, Sydney P.
    When someone encounters an explanation perceived as weak, this may lead to a feeling of deprivation or tension that can be resolved by engaging in additional learning. This study examined to what extent children respond to weak explanations by seeking additional learning opportunities. Seven- to ten-year-olds (N = 81) explored questions and explanations (circular or mechanistic) about 12 animals using a novel Android tablet application. After rating the quality of an initial explanation, children could request and receive additional information or return to the main menu to choose a new animal to explore. Consistent with past research, there were both developmental and IQ-related differences in how children evaluated explanation quality. But across development, children were more likely to request additional information in response to circular explanations than mechanistic explanations. Importantly, children were also more likely to request additional information in direct response to explanations that they themselves had assigned low ratings, regardless of explanation type. In addition, there was significant variability in both children's explanation evaluation and their exploration, suggesting important directions for future research. The findings support the deprivation theory of curiosity and offer implications for education.
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    Preschoolers Sometimes Seek Help from Socially Engaged Informants over Competent Ones
    (Elsevier Ltd) Rowles, Sydney P.; Mills, Candice M.; 0000-0002-0820-9162 (Mills, CM); Rowles, Sydney P.; Mills, Candice M.
    The current studies examine whether children can selectively seek help from more competent others to solve simple problems. Across two experiments, 4- and 5-year-old children watched two adults demonstrate using a toy: one adult appeared competent but was socially unengaged, while the other appeared incompetent but was socially engaged. Children were then able to seek help from the adults while working with their own problem-solving toys. In Experiment 1, children appeared to seek help indiscriminately between the two adults. In Experiment 2, which had a more salient competence cue, children showed a statistically significant preference for questioning the socially engaged informant. For both experiments, children were able to remember post-test which adult demonstrated which characteristic, though they did not make strong inferences regarding future behaviors. This research demonstrates that preschool-aged children sometimes prefer to seek help from socially engaged sources, even if those sources may not be competent. ©2018 Elsevier Inc.
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    Developing the Bias Blind Spot: Increasing Skepticism Towards Others
    (Public Library of Science) Elashi, Fadwa B.; Mills, Candice M. (UT Dallas); 0000-0002-0820-9162 (Mills, CM)
    Two experiments with eighty-eight 7- to 10-year-olds examined the bias blind spot in children. Both younger and older children rated themselves as less likely than a specific other (Experiment 1) or an average child (Experiment 2) to commit various biases. These self-other differences were also more extreme for biased behaviors than for other behaviors. At times, older children demonstrated stronger self-other differences than younger children, which seemed primarily driven by older children's judgments about bias in others. These findings suggest that, although the bias blind spot exists as soon as children recognize other-committed biases, what changes over development is how skeptical children are towards others.

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