Curious Learners: How Infants’ Motivation to Learn Shapes and Is Shaped by Infants’ Interactions with the Social World

  • Katarina Begus
  • Victoria Southgate


Most theories of infant social learning focus on how infants learn whatever and whenever the adults decide to teach them. While infants are well equipped to learn from adults, recent research suggests infant social learning is not a passive process but that infants may play an active role in acquiring information and modulating their learning according to their interests. This chapter aims to highlight the importance of investigating young children’s intrinsic motivation for learning, particularly in the domain of social learning. It reviews the current research on how infants’ curiosity may be expressed through their behaviour while interacting with social partners, and how responding to these expressions of curiosity may affect infants’ learning. Finally, through the investigation of the possible neurological underpinnings of the social and motivational aspects of learning, this chapter explores infants’ selectivity in social partners and how it can be explained by their motivation to learn.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katarina Begus
    • 1
  • Victoria Southgate
    • 2
  1. 1.Cognitive Development Center, Department of Cognitive ScienceCentral European UniversityBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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