Publication detailsFlynn, E. & Whiten, A. (2008). Cultural transmission of tool use in young children: A diffusion chain study. Social Development 17(3): 699-718.
- Publication type: Journal Article
- ISSN/ISBN: 1467-9507
- DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9507.2007.00453.x
- Keywords: Culture, Observational learning, Tool use, Transmission.
- Further publication details on publisher web site
- Durham Research Online (DRO) - may include full text
Author(s) from Durham
Developmental and gender effects in the transmission of information about a tool-use task were investigated within a ‘diffusion chain’ design. One hundred and twenty-seven children (65 three-year-olds and 62 five-year-olds) participated. Eighty children took part in diffusion chains in which consecutive children in chains of five witnessed two attempts on a tool-use task by the previous child in the chain. Comparisons were made between two experimental conditions in which alternative techniques were seeded and a third no-model control condition. Children in the diffusion chains conformed to the technique they witnessed, in one experimental condition faithfully transmitting a technique absent in the no-model condition. Five-year-olds displayed more robust transmission than three-year-olds, and boys were both more competent and displayed stronger transmission than girls.