Teaching versus enforcing game rules in preschoolers' peer interactions.
Children use normative language in two key contexts: when teaching others and when enforcing social norms. We presented pairs of 3- and 5-year-old peers (N=192) with a sorting game in two experimental conditions (in addition to a third baseline condition). In the teaching condition, one child was knowledgeable, whereas the other child was ignorant and so in need of instruction. In the enforcement condition, children learned conflicting rules so that each child was making mistakes from the other's point of view. When teaching rules to an ignorant partner, both age groups used generic normative language ("Bunnies go here"). When enforcing rules on a rule-breaking partner, 3-year-olds used normative utterances that were not generic and aimed at correcting individual behavior ("No, this goes there"), whereas 5-year-olds again used generic normative language, perhaps because they discerned that instruction was needed in this case as well. Young children normatively correct peers differently depending on their assessment of what their wayward partners need to bring them back into line.
Köymen, B; Schmidt, MFH; Rost, L; Lieven, E; Tomasello, M
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