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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

Results. Infants’ choices for the giver versus the taker (in %) across conditions. *p < 0.05, **p < 0.01, ***p < 0.00005, ****p < 0.0000005.
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Figure 2: Results. Infants’ choices for the giver versus the taker (in %) across conditions. *p < 0.05, **p < 0.01, ***p < 0.00005, ****p < 0.0000005.

Mentions: Preliminary analyses. Choice results are depicted in Figure 2. When collapsed across conditions, preliminary binomial tests revealed no effects of side, color, or giving/taking action on infants’ choices (p’s > 0.41). Both across and within conditions, habituators and non-habituators chose in the direction of the hypothesis at equal rates (Fisher’s Exact pAcross = 0.59, pWithinProsocial = 1.0, pWithinAntisocial = 1.0). Interestingly, males in the Antisocial Target condition were more likely to choose the Taker than were females (Fisher’s Exact p = 0.05); this difference was not observed in the Prosocial Target condition (p = 1.0) nor collapsed across both (p = 0.16) and so is not addressed further. The choice pattern of infants with siblings did not differ from those without (Fisher’s Exact p’s > 0.54). Finally, a multivariate ANOVA on whether infants chose with or against the hypothesis and whether infants chose the Giver or Taker with age as a covariate revealed no effects of age on infants’ choices (F’s1,54 < 1.05, p’s > 0.31, ’s < 0.03).


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)

Results. Infants’ choices for the giver versus the taker (in %) across conditions. *p < 0.05, **p < 0.01, ***p < 0.00005, ****p < 0.0000005.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 2: Results. Infants’ choices for the giver versus the taker (in %) across conditions. *p < 0.05, **p < 0.01, ***p < 0.00005, ****p < 0.0000005.
Mentions: Preliminary analyses. Choice results are depicted in Figure 2. When collapsed across conditions, preliminary binomial tests revealed no effects of side, color, or giving/taking action on infants’ choices (p’s > 0.41). Both across and within conditions, habituators and non-habituators chose in the direction of the hypothesis at equal rates (Fisher’s Exact pAcross = 0.59, pWithinProsocial = 1.0, pWithinAntisocial = 1.0). Interestingly, males in the Antisocial Target condition were more likely to choose the Taker than were females (Fisher’s Exact p = 0.05); this difference was not observed in the Prosocial Target condition (p = 1.0) nor collapsed across both (p = 0.16) and so is not addressed further. The choice pattern of infants with siblings did not differ from those without (Fisher’s Exact p’s > 0.54). Finally, a multivariate ANOVA on whether infants chose with or against the hypothesis and whether infants chose the Giver or Taker with age as a covariate revealed no effects of age on infants’ choices (F’s1,54 < 1.05, p’s > 0.31, ’s < 0.03).

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