Conceptual constraints and mechanisms in children's selective learning

Mark A. Sabbagh, Melissa A. Koenig, Valerie A. Kuhlmeier

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Although we can support Heyes’ call for more research on mechanisms, we disagree that the problem has been ignored as Heyes suggests. We also doubt that basic learning mechanisms are alone sufficient to account for the broad range of findings in the selective social learning literature. Although phylogenetically shared learning mechanisms must support selective social learning, we believe that they must also be guided by top-down conceptual considerations that may be special to humans. Research to date has been focused on establishing the boundary conditions on selective social learning, with the goal of making generalizations that will constrain theorizing about the character of that special knowledge. This is critical to our understanding of both why and how selective social learning manifests in children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12415
JournalDevelopmental Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


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