Science News

Social Networks and Knowledge Transmission Strategies among Baka Children, Southeastern Cameroon.

A new interesting article has been published in Hum Nat. 2018 Dec;29(4):442-463. doi: 10.1007/s12110-018-9328-0. and titled:

Social Networks and Knowledge Transmission Strategies among Baka Children, Southeastern Cameroon.

Authors of this article are:

Gallois S, Lubbers MJ, Hewlett B, Reyes-García V.

A summary of the article is shown below:

The dynamics of knowledge transmission and acquisition, or how different aspects of culture are passed from one individual to another and how they are acquired and embodied by individuals, are central to understanding cultural evolution. In small-scale societies, cultural knowledge is largely acquired early in life through observation, imitation, and other forms of social learning embedded in daily experiences. However, little is known about the pathways through which such knowledge is transmitted, especially during middle childhood and adolescence. This study presents new empirical data on cultural knowledge transmission during childhood. Data were collected among the Baka, a forager-farmer society in southeastern Cameroon. We conducted structured interviews with children between 5 and 16 years of age (n = 58 children; 177 interviews, with children being interviewed 1-6 times) about group composition during subsistence activities. Children’s groups were generally diverse, although children tended to perform subsistence activities primarily without adults and with same-sex companions. Group composition varied from one subsistence activity to another, which suggests that the flow of knowledge might also vary according to the activity performed. Analysis of the social composition of children’s subsistence groups shows that vertical and oblique transmission of subsistence-related knowledge might not be predominant during middle childhood and adolescence. Rather, horizontal transmission appears to be the most common knowledge transmission strategy used by Baka children during middle childhood and adolescence, highlighting the importance of other children in the transmission of knowledge.

Check out the article’s website on Pubmed for more information:

This article is a good source of information and a good way to become familiar with topics such as:

Cultural transmission;Ethnoecology;Hunter-gatherers;Social learning;Subsistence activities


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