Conforming to coordinate: children use majority information for peer coordination.
Humans are constantly required to coordinate their behaviour with others. As this often relies on everyone's convergence on the same strategy (e.g., driving on the left side of the road), a common solution is to conform to majority behaviour. In this study, we presented 5-year-old children with a coordination problem: To retrieve some rewards, they had to choose the same of four options as a peer partner--in reality a stooge--whose decision they were unable to see. Before making a choice, they watched a video showing how other children from their partner's peer group had behaved; a majority chose the same option and a minority chose a different one. In a control condition, children watched the same video but could then retrieve the reward irrespective of their partner's choice (i.e., no coordination was necessary). Children followed the majority more often when coordination was required. Moreover, conformers mostly justified their choices by referring to the majority from the video demonstration. This study is the first to show that young children are able to strategically coordinate decisions with peers by conforming to the majority.
Grueneisen, S; Wyman, E; Tomasello, M
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
Pubmed Central ID
Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)