Brungarians Use it Differently! Children’s Understanding of Artifact Function as a Cultural Convention

In: Journal of Cognition and Culture
View More View Less
  • 1 Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, BC, Canada
  • 2 Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, MI, USA

Login via Institution

Purchase instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):

€25.00$30.00

Abstract

Children not only recognize the function of an artifact, but they actively protest when others use it in an atypical way. In two experiments, we asked whether children view artifact function as universal or as culturally dependent. In both experiments children watched videos of two actors who used common artifacts atypically (e.g. a woman using a fork to comb her hair). In Experiment 1A, 6-to-7-year-old children were told that the actors were either from Canada or a far away country. Children were marginally more likely to protest a Canadian using the artifact in a novel way than when the individual was from a far away country. In Experiment 1B, the familiar or unfamiliar culture was explicitly highlighted (e.g., “in Canada it snows in winter” vs. “in Brungaria it rains in winter”). Four-to-five-year-olds were also included as a comparison group. Six-to-seven-year-olds protested the atypical use when the actor was Canadian more than when the actor was Brungarian, whereas 4-to-5-year-olds protested at non-significant rates. Additionally, when asked what appropriate function of the artifact was, 6-to-7-year olds were more likely to endorse the atypical function when it was performed by a Brungarian than a Canadian, while 4-to-5-year-olds never endorsed the atypical function, regardless of condition. These findings demonstrate that while younger children view artifact function as universal, children over the age of 6 recognize that the accepted function of an artifact may vary by culture.

  • Asher, Y. M., & Kemler Nelson, D. G. (2008). Was it designed to do that? Children’s focus on intended function in their conceptualization of artifacts. Cognition, 106(1), 474483.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Barrett, M. (2007). Children’s knowledge, beliefs and feelings about nations and national groups. East Sussex, UK: Psychology Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Barrett, M., & Short, J. (1992). Images of European people in a group of 5–10‐year‐old English schoolchildren. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 10(4), 339363.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Barrett, M., Wilson, H., & Lyons, E. (2003). The development of national in‐group bias: English children’s attributions of characteristics to English, American and German people. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 21(2), 193220.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Birch, S. A., & Bloom, P. (2002). Preschoolers are sensitive to the speaker’s knowledge when learning proper names. Child development, 73(2), 434444.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Buresh, J. S., & Woodward, A. L. (2007). Infants track action goals within and across agents. Cognition, 104(2), 287314.

  • Carter, D. B., & Patterson, C. J. (1982). Sex roles as social conventions: The development of children’s conceptions of sex-role stereotypes. Developmental Psychology, 18(6), 812.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Casler, K. (2014). New tool, new function? Toddlers’ use of mutual exclusivity when mapping information to objects. Infancy, 19(2), 162178.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Casler, K., & Kelemen, D. (2005). Young children’s rapid learning about artifacts. Developmental Science, 6, 472480.

  • Casler, K., & Kelemen, D. (2007). Reasoning about artifacts at 24 months: The developing teleo-functional stance. Cognition, 103, 120130.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Casler, K., Terziyan, T., & Greene, K. (2009). Toddlers view artifact function normatively. Cognitive Development, 24(3), 240247.

  • Cimpian, A., & Cadena, C. (2010). Why are dunkels sticky? Preschoolers infer functionality and intentional creation for artifact properties learned from generic language. Cognition, 117, 6268. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2010.06.011.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Defeyter, M. A., & German, T. P. (2003). Acquiring an understanding of design: evidence from children’s insight problem solving. Cognition, 89(2), 133155.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Defeyter, M. A., Hearing, J., & German, T. C. (2009). A developmental dissociation between category and function judgments about novel artifacts. Cognition, 110(2), 260264. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2008.10.014.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Diesendruck, G., & Markson, L. (2001). Children’s avoidance of lexical overlap: A pragmatic account. Developmental psychology, 37(5), 630.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Diesendruck, G., Markson, L., & Bloom, P. (2003). Children’s reliance on creator’s intent in extending names for artifacts. Psychological Science, 14(2), 164168.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dunham, Y., Baron, A. S., & Banaji, M. R. (2008). The development of implicit intergroup cognition. Trends in cognitive sciences, 12(7), 248253.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dunham, Y., Baron, A. S., & Carey, S. (2011). Consequences of “minimal” group affiliations in children. Child development, 82(3), 793811.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Flavell, J. H. (1986). The development of children’s knowledge about the appearance-reality distinction, 41(4), 418425.

  • Flavell, J. H., Flavell, E. F., Green, F. L., & Wilcox, S. A. (1980). Young children’s knowledge about visual perception: Effect of observer’s distance from target on perceptual clarity of target. Developmental Psychology, 16(1), 10.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gabennesch. (1990). The perception of social conventionality by children and adults. Child Development, 61(6), 20472059.

  • Gelman, S. A., & Kremer, K. E. (1991). Understanding natural cause: Children’s explanations of how objects and their properties originate. Child Development, 62, 396414.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • German, T. P., & Defeyter, M. A. (2000). Immunity to functional fixedness in young children. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 7(4), 707712.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Graham, S. A., Stock, H., & Henderson, A. M. (2006). Nineteen-month-olds’ understanding of the conventionality of object labels versus desires. Infancy, 9(3), 341350.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Harris, P. L., Donnelly, K., Guz, G. R., & Pitt-Watson, R. (1986). Children’s understanding of the distinction between real and apparent emotion. Child development, 895909.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kalish, C. (1998). Natural and artifactual kinds: Are children realists or relativists about categories?. Developmental Psychology, 34(2), 376.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kelemen, D. (1999). The scope of teleological thinking in preschool children. Cognition, 70(3), 241272.

  • Kinzler, K. D., Dupoux, E., & Spelke, E. S. (2007). The native language of social cognition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(30), 1257712580.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Komatsu, L. K., & Galotti, K. M. (1986). Children’s reasoning about social, physical, and logical regularities: a look at two worlds. Child Development, 57(2), 413420.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lockhart, K. L., Abrahams, B., & Osherson, D. N. (1977). Children’s understanding of uniformity in the environment. Child Development, 15211531.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Maccoby, E. E. (1983). Let’s not overattribute to the attribution process: Comments on social cognition and behavior. Social Cognition and Social Development, 356370.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Matan, A., & Carey, S. (2001). Developmental changes within the core of artifact concepts. Cognition, 78(1), 126.

  • Nesdale, D., & Flesser, D. (2001). Social identity and the development of children’s group attitudes. Child development, 72(2), 506517.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rhodes, M. (2012). Naïve theories of social groups. Child development, 83(6), 19001916.

  • Rhodes, M., & Chalik, L. (2013). Social categories as markers of intrinsic interpersonal obligations. Psychological science, 24(6), 9991006.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rhodes, M., & Gelman, S. A. (2009). A developmental examination of the conceptual structure of animal, artifact, and human social categories across two cultural contexts. Cognitive psychology, 59(3), 244274.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schell, V. (2016). Preschoolers restrict the scope of labels within their own linguistic group. Retrieved from http://qspace.library.queensu.ca/. (Canadian Theses).

    • Export Citation
  • Shutts, K., Roben, C. K. P., & Spelke, E. S. (2013). Children’s use of social categories in thinking about people and social relationships. Journal of Cognition and Development, 14(1), 3562.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Smetana, J. G. (1985). Preschool children’s conceptions of transgressions: Effects of varying moral and conventional domain-related attributes. Developmental Psychology, 21(1), 1829.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schmidt, M. F. H., Rakoczy, H., & Tomasello, M. (2012). Young children enforce social norms selectively depending on the violator’s group affiliation. Cognition, 124(3), 325333.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Siegel, D. R., & Callanan, M. a. (2007). Artifacts as Conventional Objects. Journal of Cognition and Development, 8(2), 183203.

  • Tajfel, H., Billig, M. G., Bundy, R. P., & Flament, C. (1971). Social categorization and intergroup behaviour. European journal of social psychology, 1(2), 149178.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tisak, M. S., & Turiel, E. (1988). Variation in seriousness of transgressions and children’s moral and conventional concepts. Developmental Psychology, 24, 352357.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Turiel, E. (1978). Social regulations and domains of social concepts. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 1978(1), 4574.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Turner, J. C., Brown, R. J., & Tajfel, H. (1979). Social comparison and group interest in ingroup favouritism. European journal of social psychology, 9(2), 187204.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 135 58 3
Full Text Views 180 14 0
PDF Downloads 15 6 0