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The Importance of Discovery in Children's Causal Learning from Interventions

Authors
  • Sobel, David M.1
  • Sommerville, Jessica A.2
  • 1 Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA
  • 2 Department of Psychology and Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
Type
Published Article
Journal
Frontiers in Psychology
Publisher
Frontiers Media SA
Publication Date
Nov 02, 2010
Volume
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2010.00176
Source
Frontiers
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Neuroscience
  • Original Research
License
Green

Abstract

Four-year-olds were more accurate at learning causal structures from their own actions when they were allowed to act first and then observe an experimenter act, as opposed to observing first and then acting on the environment. Children who discovered the causal efficacy of events (as opposed to confirming the efficacy of events that they observed another discover) were also more accurate than children who only observed the experimenter act on the environment; accuracy in the confirmation and observation conditions was at similar levels. These data suggest that while children learn from acting on the environment, not all self-generated action produces equivalent causal learning.

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