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Peer Pressure: To “Play Group” Or Not To “Play Group”

kids-playingFor new moms out there who are wondering if playgroups may be the best way for their toddlers to learn to share, sharing may not be the only thing they learn. According to a recent study that involved observing the behavior of human toddlers and chimpanzees, a simple exercise uncovered the survival instinct to conform and avoid dangerous situations.

The study was performed at the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany. In the study, researchers observed a group consisting of human toddlers and chimpanzees. The groups had an equal number of humans and chimpanzees in each. Each group watched as the other members of their species performed a task. The task was to have one toddler, or chimp put three balls into a box, while another task was to have three humans and three chimps each individually place three different balls into one box.

Researchers observed that the second group, who were the observers, chose the same box that the majority did when it was their turn to perform the task. The chimpanzees were more prone to do this than the human toddlers. This experiment showed an evolutionary tendency to conform in order to avoid danger or threatening situations by following a group.

Despite the confusing methods, the findings supported that toddlers learn at the youngest ages to avoid danger and follow the group. Hence they repeat this behavior as they go farther up the academic ladder. So the question remains to play group or not to group ????







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