Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Adaptive cultural transmission biases in children and nonhuman primates

Research output: Research - peer-reviewReview article

DOI

Abstract

Comparative and evolutionary developmental analyses seek to discover the similarities and differences between humans and non-human species that might illuminate both the evolutionary foundations of our nature that we share with other animals, and the distinctive characteristics that make human development unique. As our closest animal relatives, with whom we last shared common ancestry, non-human primates have been particularly important in this endeavour. Such studies have focused on social learning, traditions, and culture, and have discovered much about the ‘how’ of social learning, concerned with key underlying processes such as imitation and emulation. One of the core discoveries is that the adaptive adjustment of social learning options to different contexts is not unique to human, therefore multiple new strands of research have begun to focus on more subtle questions about when, from whom, and why such learning occurs. Here we review illustrative studies on both human infants and young children and on non-human primates to identify the similarities shared more broadly across the primate order, and the apparent specialisms that distinguish human development. Adaptive biases in social learning discussed include those modulated by task comprehension, experience, conformity to majorities, and the age, skill, proficiency and familiarity of potential alternative cultural models.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-53
Number of pages9
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Volume48
Issue numberPart A
Early online date22 Nov 2016
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2017

    Research areas

  • Cultural transmission, Social learning, Model biases, Children, Infants, Nonhuman primates

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) display limited behavioural flexibility when faced with a changing foraging task requiring tool use

    Harrison, R. A. & Whiten, A. 19 Feb 2018 In : PeerJ. 6, 28 p., e4366

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  2. Field experiments with wild primates reveal no consistent dominance-based bias in social learning

    Botting, J., Whiten, A., Grampp, M. & van de Waal, E. Feb 2018 In : Animal Behaviour. 136, p. 1-12 12 p.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  3. Innovation and social transmission in experimental micro-societies: exploring the scope of cumulative culture in young children

    McGuigan, N., Burdett, E., Burgess, V., Dean, L., Lucas, A., Vale, G. & Whiten, A. 5 Dec 2017 In : Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences. 372, 1735, 14 p., 20160425

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  4. The development of selective copying: children's learning from an expert versus their mother

    Lucas, A. J., Burdett, E. R. R., Burgess, V., Wood, L. A., McGuigan, N., Harris, P. L. & Whiten, A. 7 Nov 2017 In : Child Development. 88, 6, p. 2026-2042 17 p.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Related by journal

  1. The joint role of trained, untrained, and observed actions at the origins of goal recognition

    Gerson, S. & Woodward, A. Feb 2014 In : Infant Behavior and Development. 37, 1, p. 94-104

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  2. Infants' visual and auditory communication when a partner is or is not visually attending

    Liszkowski, U., Albrecht, K., Carpenter, M. & Tomasello, M. Apr 2008 In : Infant Behavior and Development. 31, 2, p. 157-167 11 p.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  3. Fourteen- to 18-month-old infants differentially imitate intentional and accidental actions

    Carpenter, M., Akhtar, N. & Tomasello, M. 1998 In : Infant Behavior and Development. 21, p. 315-330

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

ID: 247863727