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dc.contributor.authorMorgan, T.J.
dc.contributor.authorLaland, K.N.
dc.contributor.authorHarris, P.L.
dc.identifier.citationMorgan , T J , Laland , K N & Harris , P L 2015 , ' The development of adaptive conformity in young children : effects of uncertainty and consensus ' , Developmental Science , vol. 18 , no. 4 , pp. 511-524 .
dc.identifier.otherPURE: 159067044
dc.identifier.otherPURE UUID: f28a8345-7856-487b-a93c-1d81d3c12d4c
dc.identifier.otherWOS: 000355625900001
dc.identifier.otherScopus: 84930044800
dc.identifier.otherORCID: /0000-0002-2457-0900/work/60630384
dc.description.abstractHuman culture relies on extensive use of social transmission, which must be integrated with independently acquired (i.e. asocial) information for effective decision-making. Formal evolutionary theory predicts that natural selection should favor adaptive learning strategies, including a bias to copy when uncertain, and a bias to disproportionately copy the majority (known as conformist transmission'). Although the function and causation of these evolved strategies has been comparatively well studied, little is known of their development. We experimentally investigated the development of the bias to copy-when-uncertain and conformist transmission in children from the ages of 3 to 7, testing predictions derived from theoretical models. Children first attempted to solve a binary-choice quantity discrimination task themselves using asocial information, but were then given the decisions of informants, and an opportunity to revise their answer. We investigated whether children's revised judgments were adaptively contingent on (i) the difficulty of the trial and (ii) the degree of consensus amongst informants. As predicted, older but not younger children copied others more on more difficult trials than on easier trials, even though older children also showed a tendency to stick with their initial, asocial decision. We also found that older children, like adults, were disproportionately receptive to non-total majorities (i.e. were conformist) whereas younger children were receptive only to total (i.e. unanimous) majorities. We conclude that, whilst the mechanism for incorporating social information into decision-making is initially very blunt, across the course of early childhood it converges on the adaptive learning mechanisms observed in adults and predicted by cultural evolutionary theory. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at
dc.relation.ispartofDevelopmental Scienceen
dc.rightsCopyright 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is the accepted version of the following article: [full citation], which has been published in final form at;jsessionid=AC978EC2737E9B6A61816B7CF6C0594D.f02t02en
dc.subjectSocial learningen
dc.subjectConformist transmissionen
dc.subjectSocial learning strategyen
dc.subjectQH301 Biologyen
dc.titleThe development of adaptive conformity in young children : effects of uncertainty and consensusen
dc.typeJournal articleen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.School of Biologyen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.Scottish Oceans Instituteen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.Institute of Behavioural and Neural Sciencesen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.Centre for Social Learning & Cognitive Evolutionen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.Centre for Biological Diversityen
dc.description.statusPeer revieweden

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