We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham e-Theses
You are in:

Children’s instrumental copying in play: comparing how children copy when they encounter evidence of failure in a close- and open-ended task

LAVENDER-FORSYTH, GUY,ALEXANDER (2018) Children’s instrumental copying in play: comparing how children copy when they encounter evidence of failure in a close- and open-ended task. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Recent research into play describes it as a context in which children are not constrained by goals external to their activities (i.e., their activities are open- ended), and in which children explore and learn about their environment. Yet research into children’s social learning often underemphasises such open-ended contexts in favour of close-ended tasks in which children may or may not copy specific strategies to achieve pre-specified goals. I therefore examined two predictions, that: (1) children’s copying behaviour will exhibit differences between close-ended and open-ended tasks, and (2) in the open-ended task, children will flexibly combine microstructural and macrostructural information learnt either ‘socially’ or ‘asocially’. The second prediction did not find support in the data: data indicated that children given the open-ended task showed no differences between copying of microstructure design and copying of macrostructure design. However, the thesis presents results in support of the first prediction. Compared to the close-ended task, in which a successful rather than unsuccessful social model increased children’s copying behaviour, data did not give reliable support for the same effects in the open-ended task. Counter to expectations drawn from literature using close-ended tasks, data from the open-ended task also gave no support to the hypothesis that children who encounter greater evidence of failure in their own building would rely more on social information. I suggest the explanation for these results is that incentives for instrumental copying are different when children are given a specific goal to achieve compared to when they have greater freedom to determine the aims of their activities. This study thus extends existing research by investigating an ecologically relevant, yet currently understudied, context for children’s copying behaviour.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Science
Keywords:Social learning, Copying, Play, Creativity, Children, Culture
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Anthropology, Department of
Thesis Date:2018
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Dec 2018 11:16

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitter