Copying actions and copying outcomes: social learning through the second year
Developmental Psychology 42(3): 555-565
ISSN/ISBN: 0012-1649 PMID: 16756445 DOI: 10.1037/0012-16188.8.131.525
The present work documents how the logic of a model's demonstration and the communicative cues that the model provides interact with age to influence how children engage in social learning. Children at ages 12, 18, and 24 months (n=204) watched a model open a series of boxes. Twelve-month-old subjects only copied the specific actions of the model when they were given a logical reason to do so--otherwise, they focused on reproducing the outcome of the demonstrated actions. Eighteen-month-old subjects focused on copying the outcome when the model was aloof. When the model acted socially, the subjects were as likely to focus on copying actions as outcomes, irrespective of the apparent logic of the model's behavior. Finally, 24-month-old subjects predominantly focused on copying the model's specific actions. However, they were less likely to produce the modeled outcome when the model acted non-socially.