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Two-year-olds can socially learn to think divergently

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-36
JournalBritish Journal of Developmental Psychology
Issue number1
DateAccepted/In press - 17 Jul 2017
DatePublished (current) - 9 Aug 2017


This study aimed to discover whether 2-year-olds can socially learn to think divergently. Two-year-olds (N=22) who saw an experimenter model a high level of divergent thinking on the Unusual Box Test (modeling 25 different actions, once each) went on to demonstrate a higher level of divergent thinking themselves than (N=22) children who saw a low level of modeling (5 different actions, each), where divergent thinking was measured by the number of different actions children produced that had not been modeled by the experimenter. Additionally, all children in both High and Low Divergence conditions had higher divergent thinking than imitation scores, where imitation involved copying the experimenter’s previous actions. This is the first experiment to show that 2-year-olds’ divergent thinking can be increased, and that 2-year-olds do so by socially learning to think more divergently.

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    Accepted author manuscript, 279 KB, PDF document



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