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Durham University

School of Education

Research Projects

Publication details

Flynn, E. & Whiten, A. (2012). Experimental 'microcultures' in young children: identifying biographic, cognitive, and social predictors of information transmission. Child Development 83(3): 911-925.

Author(s) from Durham


In one of the first open diffusion experiments with young children, a tool-use task that afforded multiple methods to extract an enclosed reward and a child model habitually using one of these methods were introduced into different playgroups. Eighty-eight children, ranging in age from 2 years 8 months to 4 years 5 months, participated. Measures were taken of how alternative methods and success in extracting rewards spread across the different groups. Additionally, the biographic, social, cognitive, and temperamental predictors of social learning were investigated. Variations in social learning were related to age, popularity, dominance, impulsivity, and shyness, while other factors such as sex, theory of mind, verbal ability, and even imitativeness showed little association with variance in children’s information acquisition.

School of Education