Better all by myself : gaining personal experience, not watching others, improves 3-year-olds’ performance in a causal trap task
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Children often learn from others’ demonstrations, but in the causal domain evidence acquired from observing others may be more ambiguous than evidence generated for oneself. Prior work involving tool-using tasks suggests that observational learning might not provide sufficient information about the causal relations involved, but it remains unclear whether these limitations can be mitigated by providing demonstrations using familiar manual actions rather than unfamiliar tools. We provided 2.5- to 3.5-year-old children (N = 67) with the opportunity to acquire experience with a causal trap task by hand or by tool actively or from observing others. Initially, children either generated their own experience or watched a yoked demonstration; all children then attempted the trap task with the tool. Children who generated their own experience outperformed those who watched the demonstration. Hand or tool use had no effect on performance with a tool. The implications of these findings for scaffolding self-guided learning and for demonstrations involving errors are discussed.
Yuniarto , L , Gerson , S & Seed , A M 2020 , ' Better all by myself : gaining personal experience, not watching others, improves 3-year-olds’ performance in a causal trap task ' , Journal of Experimental Child Psychology , vol. 194 . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2019.104792
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Copyright © 2019 Published by Elsevier Inc. This work has been made available online in accordance with publisher policies or with permission. Permission for further reuse of this content should be sought from the publisher or the rights holder. This is the author created accepted manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2019.104792
DescriptionThis work was supported by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No. 639072).
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