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Durham e-Theses
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An investigation into the social learning of cooperation in
children: individual, social, and cultural comparisons

BEZERRA-DUTRA, NATALIA (2018) An investigation into the social learning of cooperation in
children: individual, social, and cultural comparisons.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Humans' unique cooperative and social learning skills have contributed to the evolution of human cumulative culture, fostering the creation and transmission of knowledge and the formation of social institutions. This thesis aimed to understand how children learn from others to collaborate in
coordinated interactions with different roles and outcomes, and the influence of cultural, social, and individual factors on children's cooperative behaviour. It is organised in four experimental studies. The first study investigated how different collaborative actions are copied and transmitted between three- and four-year-old children. The second study investigated the adoption of different types of social information by six- and seven-year-old children in a collective social dilemma. The third
study investigated the effects of age (four- and five-year-olds versus eight- and nine-year-olds), gender, social class and culture (Brazil versus England) on the cooperation and sharing of resources between children, in a task with unequal outcomes. The fourth study investigated whether the mothers’ social preferences and the children’s individual characteristics affect the cooperation and
sharing of resources among children in the same task from the previous study. These studies yielded important findings regarding the diverse effects of contextual factors on the development of children’s collaborative skills. It has been shown that young children can copy peers by observing them in collaborative tasks, and are willing to collaborate with each other across different situations. However, when the tasks present potential conflicts of interest, children will rely on contextual cues to decide whether cooperate or not between themselves. Finally, older children showed better skills towards negotiation and coordination involving sharing of resources, across different sociocultural groups. This thesis contribute to the discussion of the role of contextual variables on the development and learning of cooperative behaviours from an evolutionary perspective.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Science > Psychology, Department of
Thesis Date:2018
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:29 Mar 2019 10:37

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