Paper proves that children are naturals when it comes to teamwork

Posted on Tuesday 1st July 2014

Sophie MilwardA paper by PhD student Sophie Milward on the topic of children’s ability to co-operate with others has been accepted by prestigious journal Cognition. 

Sophie worked with Professors Sotaro Kita and Ian Apperly on the paper, which was entitled ‘The Development of Co-representation Effects in a Joint Task:  Do Children Represent a Co-actor?’ 

Sophie’s study presented three experiments that investigated how children automatically work closely with partners when performing tasks in a pair.  

Previous research has found that adults have an automatic tendency to take into account what a partner is doing, even if it is irrelevant to their own task.  This is very useful when working together as a team, but can sometimes be detrimental to our own performance if we use these skills under the wrong circumstances.

Sophie’s work is the first to find the same effects in children above the age of four. 

The findings help us to understand the mechanisms behind carrying out tasks, as well as children’s ability to work with others.