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Developmental research on selective social learning, or 'social learning strategies', is currently a rich source of information about when children copy behaviour, and who they prefer to copy. It also has the potential to tell us when and how human social learning becomes cultural learning; i.e. mediated by psychological mechanisms that are specialized, genetically or culturally, to promote cultural inheritance. However, this review article argues that, to realize its potential, research on the development of selective social learning needs more clearly to distinguish functional from mechanistic explanation; to achieve integration with research on attention and learning in adult humans and 'dumb' animals; and to recognize that psychological mechanisms can be specialized, not only by genetic evolution, but also by associative learning and cultural evolution.

Original publication

DOI

10.1111/desc.12350

Type

Journal article

Journal

Dev Sci

Publication Date

03/2017

Volume

20