Social learning; Development; Action; Imitation; Language; Selective trust; Credibility
||Brehm, Julia; Daum, Moritz M.; Gampe, Anja
|Persistent Identifier (PID)
In the present study an ethnically representative sample of Swiss children at the ages of 2-, 3-, and 4-years (Mage = 3 years, N = 290 [150 male]) participated in a selective social learning task to assess (1) their flexibility in learning across the domains of language and action (trait reasoning), and (2) the influence of overt visual attention towards learning instances, while (3) reducing the strength of displayed incompetency to increase ecological validity. Children showed better word learning, but not better action imitation, from a competent than from an incompetent informant. However, there was neither evidence of trait reasoning nor evidence of overt attention differing between groups. Results are discussed in relation to social learning and ecological validity.
Children learn from the people around them. There are few cases where this is as obvious as in their learning of linguistic and behavioural conventions. But children do not simply take over anything from anybody. Quite the opposite is the case. Recent research demonstrates that children preferably learn novel words and actions from competent compared to incompetent models, a phenomenon called selective trust. That is, if children realise that a person is wrongly naming familiar objects, they are less likely to learn novel words from her. Similarly, if a person has a history of acting awkwardly upon familiar objects, children are less likely to learn novel actions from this model. So far, children’s selective trust has primarily been tested within a certain domain, either (and primarily) in the domain of language competence and language learning or (and less often) in the domain of action competence and action learning. Much less is known about how selective trust is transferred across domains and how it develops from infancy to preschool age. The purpose of the planned project is to address these questions by investigating children’s selective learning of novel actions and words within and across a model’s competence domain. To do so, the competence domains (action and language) and competence levels of models are systematically varied and its influence on children’s learning in two domains (action and language) is assessed in a series of four experiments. Standard methods that were established for research on selective trust will be applied and combined both for experimental manipulations and the assessment of children’s learning. The proposed project will improve our understanding of both, children’s selective learning and the development of cross-domain information processing.