Acquiring knowledge and understanding of social relationships is a key task for the human child. Methods for studying social networks are constrained by pragmatic issues of time and informant accuracy. Here we report results from a study focused specifically on how measures of cognitive ability – fluid intelligence and working memory – are associated with children's perceptions of their social networks assessed by a consecutive pile-sort method. This focused study is part of a long-term research project on family relationships and child health in a rural Caribbean community that provides comparative ethnographic depth. Our general objective here is to better understand relations between cognition and children's understanding of their social worlds. Our secondary objective is to assess an intersection of research methodologies from ethnography and cognitive psychology. Results demonstrated that measures of children's working memory capacity, but not of fluid reasoning ability, associated positively with accurate reconstruction of their social networks--a finding with potential implications for the co-evolution of human sociality and cognitive abilities.
Social network accuracy among children and adolescents in a rural Dominican community / Ponzi, Davide; Geary, David C.; Flinn, Mark V.. - In: EVOLUTION AND HUMAN BEHAVIOR. - ISSN 1090-5138. - (2023). [10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2023.06.003]