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Better all by myself: Gaining personal experience, not watching others, improves 3-year-olds’ performance in a causal trap-task

Yuniarto, Laras S., Gerson, Sarah A. and Seed, Amanda 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 194 , 104792. 10.1016/j.jecp.2019.104792
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Abstract

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 may not provide sufficient information about the causal relations involved, but it remains unclear whether these limitations can by 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 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.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0022-0965
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 March 2020
Date of Acceptance: 17 December 2019
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2020 02:01
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/130075

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