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.
- Social learning
- Cultural transmission
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology