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Journal Article

Children conform the behavior of peers; Other great apes stick with what they know

MPS-Authors
http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons73

Haun,  Daniel B. M.
Evolutionary Roots of Human Social Interaction, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;
Comparative Cognitive Anthropology, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;
Department of Developmental Psychology, University of Jena;

Rekers,  Yvonne
Evolutionary Roots of Human Social Interaction, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

Tomasello,  Michael
Evolutionary Roots of Human Social Interaction, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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Fulltext (public)

Haun_Rekers_Tomasello_2014.pdf
(Publisher version), 523KB

Supplementary Material (public)

Haun_Rekers_Tomasello_2014_supp.pdf
(Supplementary material), 552KB

Citation

Haun, D. B. M., Rekers, Y., & Tomasello, M. (2014). Children conform the behavior of peers; Other great apes stick with what they know. Psychological Science, 25, 2160-2167. doi:10.1177/0956797614553235.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0024-2C0B-2
Abstract
All primates learn things from conspecifics socially, but it is not clear whether they conform to the behavior of these conspecifics—if conformity is defined as overriding individually acquired behavioral tendencies in order to copy peers’ behavior. In the current study, chimpanzees, orangutans, and 2-year-old human children individually acquired a problem-solving strategy. They then watched several conspecific peers demonstrate an alternative strategy. The children switched to this new, socially demonstrated strategy in roughly half of all instances, whereas the other two great-ape species almost never adjusted their behavior to the majority’s. In a follow-up study, children switched much more when the peer demonstrators were still present than when they were absent, which suggests that their conformity arose at least in part from social motivations. These results demonstrate an important difference between the social learning of humans and great apes, a difference that might help to account for differences in human and nonhuman cultures