Preschool children favor copying a successful individual over an unsuccessful group

Wilks, Matti, Collier-Baker, Emma and Nielsen, Mark (2014) Preschool children favor copying a successful individual over an unsuccessful group. Developmental Science, 18 6: 1014-1024. doi:10.1111/desc.12274

Author Wilks, Matti
Collier-Baker, Emma
Nielsen, Mark
Title Preschool children favor copying a successful individual over an unsuccessful group
Journal name Developmental Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1467-7687
Publication date 2014-12-20
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/desc.12274
Open Access Status
Volume 18
Issue 6
Start page 1014
End page 1024
Total pages 11
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Abstract The human aptitude for imitation and social learning underpins our advanced cultural practices. While social learning is a valuable evolutionary survival strategy, blind copying does not necessarily facilitate survival. Copying from the majority allows individuals to make rapid judgments on the value of a trait, based on its frequency. This is known as the majority bias: an individual's tendency to copy the behavior elicited by the largest number of individuals in a population. An alternative approach is to follow those who are the most proficient. While there is evidence that children do show both processes, no study has directly pitted them against each other. To do this, in the current experiment 36 children aged between 4 and 5 years watched live actors demonstrate, as a group or individually, how to open novel puzzle boxes. Children exhibited a bias to the majority when group and individual methods were successful, but favored the individual if the group method was unsuccessful. Affiliating children with the unsuccessful majority group did not impact on this pattern.
Keyword Social learning
Preschool children
Majority bias
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online ahead of print 20 December 2014.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 4 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 27 Mar 2015, 15:07:12 EST by Mrs Alison Pike on behalf of School of Psychology