Development of strategic social information seeking: Implications for cumulative culture

Kirsten H. Blakey*, Eva Rafetsederi, Mark Atkinson, Elizabeth Renner, Fía Cowan-Forsythe, Shivani J. Sati, Christine A. Caldwell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Abstract

Human learners are rarely the passive recipients of valuable social information. Rather, learners usually have to actively seek out information from a variety of potential others to determine who is in a position to provide useful information. Yet, the majority of developmental social learning paradigms do not address participants' ability to seek out information for themselves. To investigate age-related changes in children's ability to seek out appropriate social information, 3- to 8-year-olds (N = 218) were presented with a task requiring them to identify which of four possible demonstrators could provide critical information for unlocking a box. Appropriate information seeking improved significantly with age. The particularly high performance of 7- and 8-year-olds was consistent with the expectation that older children's increased metacognitive understanding would allow them to identify appropriate information sources. Appropriate social information seeking may have been overlooked as a significant cognitive challenge involved in fully benefiting from others' knowledge, potentially influencing understanding of the phylogenetic distribution of cumulative culture.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0256605
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalPLoS One
Volume16
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes

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