Hyowon Gweon

To Give a Fish, or Teach How to Fish?
How We Understand Others to Help Others Understand

Principal Investigator

Hyowon Gweon
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Stanford University


Both as learners and as teachers, we seem to have an intuitive grasp of what kind of understanding we want to achieve ourselves or help others achieve. How do we decide whether it is better to "give a fish" or "teach how to fish", and what cognitive capacities underlie this ability? In this project, we will explore the hypotheses that children's evaluation of informants (as learners) and their selection of information (as teachers) are not only sensitive to the quality of information but also the value and the cost of information being taught. By showing how we naturally use our understanding of others to learn from others and to teach others, this research program will address some of the key questions about human understanding, such as the role of intuitive theories in understanding, as well as the developmental changes in its underlying cognitive capacities.