Observed associations between events can be validated by statistical information of reliability or by testament of communicative sources. We tested whether toddlers learn from their own observation of efficiency, assessed by statistical information on reliability of interventions, or from communicatively presented demonstration, when these two potential types of evidence of validity of interventions on a novel artifact are contrasted with each other. Eighteen-month-old infants observed two adults, one operating the artifact by a method that was more efficient (2/3 probability of success) than that of the other (1/3 probability of success). Compared to the Baseline condition, in which communicative signals were not employed, infants tended to choose the less reliable method to operate the artifact when this method was demonstrated in a communicative manner in the Experimental condition. This finding demonstrates that, in certain circumstances, communicative sanctioning of reliability may override statistical evidence for young learners. Such a bias can serve fast and efficient transmission of knowledge between generations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)