Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Listen up, parents: For toddlers (and chimps), the majority rules

Date:
April 12, 2012
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
A new study offers some news for parents: even toddlers have a tendency to follow the crowd. That sensitivity isn't unique to humans either; chimpanzees also appear more likely to pick up habits if "everyone else is doing it."

Chimpanzees. Chimpanzees (and children) appear more likely to pick up habits if "everyone else is doing it."
Credit: Helen Fassenfelt / Fotolia

A study published online on April 12 in the Cell Press journal Current Biology offers some news for parents: even toddlers have a tendency to follow the crowd. That sensitivity isn't unique to humans either; chimpanzees also appear more likely to pick up habits if "everyone else is doing it."

Related Articles


That conclusion comes from evidence that 2-year-olds and chimpanzees are more likely to copy actions when they see them repeated by three of their peers than if they see the same action done by one peer three times.

"I think few people would have expected to find that 2-year-olds are already influenced by the majority," said Daniel Haun of the Max Planck Institutes for Evolutionary Anthropology and Psycholinguistics. "Parents and teachers should be aware of these dynamics in children's peer interactions."

The findings tell us that humans and chimpanzees have shared strategies for social learning, the researchers say. Orangutans on the other hand don't seem to feel the same majority sway.

Prior studies revealed that children are sensitive to peer pressure already at preschool age. The researchers wanted to know whether the majority influences social learning at an even earlier age and in other primate species as well.

Haun's team built a box with three holes, each a different color. The box delivered a treat only when a ball was dropped into one of those three, colored holes. Toddlers, chimpanzees, and orangutans unfamiliar with the box were then allowed to watch as four of their same-species peers interacted with the box. The majority of those peer demonstrators had been trained to favor one color over the others.

When the 2-year-old and chimpanzee observers got their turn, they tended to favor the hole favored by their friends. That's in contrast to orangutans, which chose amongst the holes at random.

While the findings might leave some parents in dismay, majority rule probably does have its advantages, evolutionarily speaking. "The tendency to acquire the behaviors of the majority has been posited as key to the transmission of relatively safe, reliable, and productive behavioral strategies," Haun says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Daniel B.M. Haun, Yvonne Rekers, Michael Tomasello. Majority-Biased Transmission in Chimpanzees and Human Children, but Not Orangutans. Current Biology, 2012 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.03.006

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Listen up, parents: For toddlers (and chimps), the majority rules." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120412121353.htm>.
Cell Press. (2012, April 12). Listen up, parents: For toddlers (and chimps), the majority rules. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120412121353.htm
Cell Press. "Listen up, parents: For toddlers (and chimps), the majority rules." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120412121353.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) Take a stab at this -- stunt video shows a lamb chop's journey from an east London restaurant over 30 kilometers into space. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Majority-Biased Learning: In Humans and Chimpanzees Knowledge Is Transmitted Within a Group by Means of a Majority Principle

Apr. 12, 2012 In humans and chimpanzees knowledge is transmitted within a group by means of a majority principle. Chimpanzees are more likely to copy an action performed by a large number of individuals than an ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins