The development of selective copying: Children’s learning from an expert versus their mother

Amanda Lucas, Emily Burdett, Vanessa Burgess, Lara Wood, McGuigan Nicola, Paul Harris, Andrew Whiten

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    15 Citations (Scopus)
    26 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    This study tested the prediction that, with age, children should rely less on familiarity and more on expertise in their selective social learning. Experiment 1 (N=50) found that 5- to 6-year-olds copied the technique their mother used to extract a prize from a novel puzzle box, in preference to both a stranger and an established expert. This bias occurred despite children acknowledging the expert model’s superior capability. Experiment 2 (N=50) demonstrated a shift in 7-to 8-year-olds towards copying the expert. Children aged 9- to 10-years did not copy according to a model bias. The findings of a follow-up study (N=30) confirmed that, instead, they prioritized their own – partially flawed – causal understanding of the puzzle box. Publisher Statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Lucas, A, Burdett, E, Burgess, V, Wood, L, Nicola, M, Harris, P & Whiten, A 2017, 'The development of selective copying: Children’s learning from an expert versus their mother' Child Development, vol 88, no. 6, pp. 2026-2042, which has been published in final form at https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cdev.12711 This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2026-2042
    Number of pages17
    JournalChild Development
    Volume88
    Issue number6
    Early online date29 Dec 2016
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2017

    Keywords

    • Social learning
    • Testimony
    • imitation
    • Cultural transmission

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Developmental and Educational Psychology
    • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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