Help-Seeking As A Cause of Young Children’s Collaboration

Abstract

Young children’s collaboration is a topic of great interest, yet what causes children to initiate collaboration in some circumstances but not others is unclear. In this research, we analyzed preschoolers’ collaboration as an information gathering activity in a toy assembly activity. We independently assessed children’s competency at a similar building task and, using a separate group of children, the difficulty of each step of the activity. We hypothesized that children would request collaborative assistance when they needed assistance (that is, when they were less competent and/or the task was more difficult), but act independently when capable. The results confirmed that preschoolers were more likely to request collaborative assistance as the difficulty of the activity increased and more so if they were initially less competent. The results suggest that preschoolers’ collaboration may be profitably viewed as an information gathering activity.


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