BRISBANE, Australia, May 5 (UPI) — Children will imitate parents — even if the actions don’t make sense — giving the parents the benefit of the doubt, Australian researchers found.
Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia said chimpanzees shown an irrelevant action don’t copy it but skip to an action that makes something happen.
However, children — whether Australian preschoolers or Kalahari Bushmen — tend to exactly copy what adults do, the researchers found.
Nielsen and colleagues had adults show the preschoolers and Bushmen children how to open a box in a complicated way — with impractical actions thrown in — but gave them opportunities to figure out other ways to open the box.
“This odd effect where children will copy everything that they see an adult demonstrate to them, even if there are clear or obvious reasons why those actions would be irrelevant, is something that we know that other primates don’t do,” Mark Nielsen says in statement.
The study, published in Psychological Science, suggested the child’s willingness to believe adult actions have an unknown purpose may be linked to how humans share culture from generation to generation.
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