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Context-dependent social evaluation in 4.5-month-old human infants: the role of domain-general versus domain-specific processes in the development of social evaluation.

Hamlin JK - Front Psychol (2014)

Bottom Line: The ability to distinguish friends from foes allows humans to engage in mutually beneficial cooperative acts while avoiding the costs associated with cooperating with the wrong individuals.One way to do so effectively is to observe how unknown individuals behave toward third parties, and to selectively cooperate with those who help others while avoiding those who harm others.Such results suggest that younger infants' failure to display global social evaluation in previous work reflected domain-general rather than domain-specific limitations.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia Vancouver, BC, Canada.

ABSTRACT
The ability to distinguish friends from foes allows humans to engage in mutually beneficial cooperative acts while avoiding the costs associated with cooperating with the wrong individuals. One way to do so effectively is to observe how unknown individuals behave toward third parties, and to selectively cooperate with those who help others while avoiding those who harm others. Recent research suggests that a preference for prosocial over antisocial individuals emerges by the time that infants are 3 months of age, and by 8 months, but not before, infants evaluate others' actions in context: they prefer those who harm, rather than help, individuals who have previously harmed others. Currently there are at least two reasons for younger infants' failure to show context-dependent social evaluations. First, this failure may reflect fundamental change in infants' social evaluation system over the first year of life, in which infants first prefer helpers in any situation and only later evaluate prosocial and antisocial actors in context. On the other hand, it is possible that this developmental change actually reflects domain-general limitations of younger infants, such as limited memory and processing capacities. To distinguish between these possibilities, 4.5-month-olds in the current studies were habituated, rather than familiarized as in previous work, to one individual helping and another harming a third party, greatly increasing infants' exposure to the characters' actions. Following habituation, 4.5-month-olds displayed context-dependent social preferences, selectively reaching for helpers of prosocial and hinderers of antisocial others. Such results suggest that younger infants' failure to display global social evaluation in previous work reflected domain-general rather than domain-specific limitations.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Stimuli. Depictions of Prosocial/Antisocial puppet shows during Phase 1 and Giving/Taking puppet shows during Phase 2 of Experiment 1 (example of the Antisocial Target condition). Phase 1 (A) Prosocial Box Events. The Cow enters the stage and tries but fails to open the box. The Prosocial Pig helps him open it. The Cow lies down on top of the toy inside the box, and the Prosocial Pig runs offstage. Phase 1 (B) Antisocial Box Events. The Cow enters the stage and tries but fails to open the box. The Antisocial Pig jumps on top of the box, slamming it shut. The Cow lies down next to the box without the toy, and the Antisocial Pig runs offstage. Phase 2 (A) Giving Ball Events. The Antisocial Pig from Phase 1 enters the stage, and picks up a ball resting in the center. The Pig drops and catches the ball several times, and then drops the ball toward the Giver Tiger. The Pig turns to “ask” for the ball back, and the Giver rolls the ball back to him and runs offstage. Phase 2 (B): taking Ball Events. The Antisocial Pig enters and plays with the ball as in Giving Events. He then drops the ball toward the Taker Tiger, and asks for it back as in Giving Events. The Taker Tiger runs offstage, stealing the ball away.
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Figure 1: Stimuli. Depictions of Prosocial/Antisocial puppet shows during Phase 1 and Giving/Taking puppet shows during Phase 2 of Experiment 1 (example of the Antisocial Target condition). Phase 1 (A) Prosocial Box Events. The Cow enters the stage and tries but fails to open the box. The Prosocial Pig helps him open it. The Cow lies down on top of the toy inside the box, and the Prosocial Pig runs offstage. Phase 1 (B) Antisocial Box Events. The Cow enters the stage and tries but fails to open the box. The Antisocial Pig jumps on top of the box, slamming it shut. The Cow lies down next to the box without the toy, and the Antisocial Pig runs offstage. Phase 2 (A) Giving Ball Events. The Antisocial Pig from Phase 1 enters the stage, and picks up a ball resting in the center. The Pig drops and catches the ball several times, and then drops the ball toward the Giver Tiger. The Pig turns to “ask” for the ball back, and the Giver rolls the ball back to him and runs offstage. Phase 2 (B): taking Ball Events. The Antisocial Pig enters and plays with the ball as in Giving Events. He then drops the ball toward the Taker Tiger, and asks for it back as in Giving Events. The Taker Tiger runs offstage, stealing the ball away.

Mentions: Stimuli and procedures are identical to Hamlin et al. (2011) unless otherwise noted, and are depicted in Figure 1. Infants participated in two Stimuli Phases and a Choice Phase. For each Stimuli Phase, infants sat in their parent’s lap before a table (W: 122 cm) surrounded on three sides with blue curtains; a curtain with cartoon animal cutouts on it (85 cm from the infants) could be lowered to occlude the puppet stage so stimuli could be reset between events. Parents were instructed to sit quietly with their infants and not attempt to influence them in any way. Before the start of the study parents practiced getting into the appropriate position for the Choice Phase, turning 90° to the right and moving back about 30 cm (placing their feet on a duct tape line on the floor), perching their infants at the front of their knees (not leaning back against their chest), and holding them tightly around the lower abdomen. Parents were told how important it is that infants face straight ahead and have sufficient trunk support to ensure clear reaches at this young age. Infants were habituated to up to 14 puppet events in Stimuli Phase 1, and were familiarized to exactly two puppet events in Stimuli Phase 2. Additional details of each Phase are described below.


Context-dependent social evaluation in 4.5-month-old human infants: the role of domain-general versus domain-specific processes in the development of social evaluation.

Hamlin JK - Front Psychol (2014)

Stimuli. Depictions of Prosocial/Antisocial puppet shows during Phase 1 and Giving/Taking puppet shows during Phase 2 of Experiment 1 (example of the Antisocial Target condition). Phase 1 (A) Prosocial Box Events. The Cow enters the stage and tries but fails to open the box. The Prosocial Pig helps him open it. The Cow lies down on top of the toy inside the box, and the Prosocial Pig runs offstage. Phase 1 (B) Antisocial Box Events. The Cow enters the stage and tries but fails to open the box. The Antisocial Pig jumps on top of the box, slamming it shut. The Cow lies down next to the box without the toy, and the Antisocial Pig runs offstage. Phase 2 (A) Giving Ball Events. The Antisocial Pig from Phase 1 enters the stage, and picks up a ball resting in the center. The Pig drops and catches the ball several times, and then drops the ball toward the Giver Tiger. The Pig turns to “ask” for the ball back, and the Giver rolls the ball back to him and runs offstage. Phase 2 (B): taking Ball Events. The Antisocial Pig enters and plays with the ball as in Giving Events. He then drops the ball toward the Taker Tiger, and asks for it back as in Giving Events. The Taker Tiger runs offstage, stealing the ball away.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4061491&req=5

Figure 1: Stimuli. Depictions of Prosocial/Antisocial puppet shows during Phase 1 and Giving/Taking puppet shows during Phase 2 of Experiment 1 (example of the Antisocial Target condition). Phase 1 (A) Prosocial Box Events. The Cow enters the stage and tries but fails to open the box. The Prosocial Pig helps him open it. The Cow lies down on top of the toy inside the box, and the Prosocial Pig runs offstage. Phase 1 (B) Antisocial Box Events. The Cow enters the stage and tries but fails to open the box. The Antisocial Pig jumps on top of the box, slamming it shut. The Cow lies down next to the box without the toy, and the Antisocial Pig runs offstage. Phase 2 (A) Giving Ball Events. The Antisocial Pig from Phase 1 enters the stage, and picks up a ball resting in the center. The Pig drops and catches the ball several times, and then drops the ball toward the Giver Tiger. The Pig turns to “ask” for the ball back, and the Giver rolls the ball back to him and runs offstage. Phase 2 (B): taking Ball Events. The Antisocial Pig enters and plays with the ball as in Giving Events. He then drops the ball toward the Taker Tiger, and asks for it back as in Giving Events. The Taker Tiger runs offstage, stealing the ball away.
Mentions: Stimuli and procedures are identical to Hamlin et al. (2011) unless otherwise noted, and are depicted in Figure 1. Infants participated in two Stimuli Phases and a Choice Phase. For each Stimuli Phase, infants sat in their parent’s lap before a table (W: 122 cm) surrounded on three sides with blue curtains; a curtain with cartoon animal cutouts on it (85 cm from the infants) could be lowered to occlude the puppet stage so stimuli could be reset between events. Parents were instructed to sit quietly with their infants and not attempt to influence them in any way. Before the start of the study parents practiced getting into the appropriate position for the Choice Phase, turning 90° to the right and moving back about 30 cm (placing their feet on a duct tape line on the floor), perching their infants at the front of their knees (not leaning back against their chest), and holding them tightly around the lower abdomen. Parents were told how important it is that infants face straight ahead and have sufficient trunk support to ensure clear reaches at this young age. Infants were habituated to up to 14 puppet events in Stimuli Phase 1, and were familiarized to exactly two puppet events in Stimuli Phase 2. Additional details of each Phase are described below.

Bottom Line: The ability to distinguish friends from foes allows humans to engage in mutually beneficial cooperative acts while avoiding the costs associated with cooperating with the wrong individuals.One way to do so effectively is to observe how unknown individuals behave toward third parties, and to selectively cooperate with those who help others while avoiding those who harm others.Such results suggest that younger infants' failure to display global social evaluation in previous work reflected domain-general rather than domain-specific limitations.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia Vancouver, BC, Canada.

ABSTRACT
The ability to distinguish friends from foes allows humans to engage in mutually beneficial cooperative acts while avoiding the costs associated with cooperating with the wrong individuals. One way to do so effectively is to observe how unknown individuals behave toward third parties, and to selectively cooperate with those who help others while avoiding those who harm others. Recent research suggests that a preference for prosocial over antisocial individuals emerges by the time that infants are 3 months of age, and by 8 months, but not before, infants evaluate others' actions in context: they prefer those who harm, rather than help, individuals who have previously harmed others. Currently there are at least two reasons for younger infants' failure to show context-dependent social evaluations. First, this failure may reflect fundamental change in infants' social evaluation system over the first year of life, in which infants first prefer helpers in any situation and only later evaluate prosocial and antisocial actors in context. On the other hand, it is possible that this developmental change actually reflects domain-general limitations of younger infants, such as limited memory and processing capacities. To distinguish between these possibilities, 4.5-month-olds in the current studies were habituated, rather than familiarized as in previous work, to one individual helping and another harming a third party, greatly increasing infants' exposure to the characters' actions. Following habituation, 4.5-month-olds displayed context-dependent social preferences, selectively reaching for helpers of prosocial and hinderers of antisocial others. Such results suggest that younger infants' failure to display global social evaluation in previous work reflected domain-general rather than domain-specific limitations.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus