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Personality predicts innovation and social learning in children; Implications for cultural evolution

Citation

Rawlings, Bruce (2021), Personality predicts innovation and social learning in children; Implications for cultural evolution , Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.3r2280gcw

Abstract

Innovation and social learning are the pillars of cultural evolution, allowing cultural behaviours to cumulatively advance over generations. Yet, little is known about individual differences in the use of social and asocial information. We examined whether personality influenced children’s propensity to observe others or independently generate solutions to novel problems. Conscientiousness was associated with electing for no demonstrations, while agreeableness was associated with opting for demonstrations. For children receiving demonstrations, openness to experience consistently predicted deviation from observed methods. Children who opted for no demonstrations were also more likely than those opting for demonstrations to exhibit tool manufacture on an innovation challenge and displayed higher creativity. These results highlight how new cultural traditions emerge, establish and advance by identifying which individuals generate new cultural variants in populations and which are influential in the diffusion of these variants, and help reduce the apparent tension within the ‘ratchet’ of cumulative culture.

Methods

This data was collected using from an experiment. It has been processed using SPSS and R.

Usage Notes

Some of the coded scores only applies to participants who elected for social demonstrations on the puzzlebox. This should be clear but is explained in the readme.

Funding

ESRC, Award: 1449189

ESRC, Award: 1449189