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Infants distinguish antisocial actions directed towards fair and unfair agents.

Meristo M, Surian L - PLoS ONE (2014)

Bottom Line: One donor always distributed the goods equally, while the other performed unequal distributions by giving everything to one recipient.In the test phase, a third agent hit or took resources away from either the fair or the unfair donor.These findings support the view that infants are able to evaluate agents based on their distributive actions and suggest that the foundations of human socio-moral competence are acquired independently of parental feedback and linguistic experience.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Göteborg, Sweden.

ABSTRACT
Three experiments provide evidence of an incipient sense of fairness in preverbal infants. Ten-month-old infants were shown cartoon videos with two agents, the 'donors', who distributed resources to two identical recipients. One donor always distributed the goods equally, while the other performed unequal distributions by giving everything to one recipient. In the test phase, a third agent hit or took resources away from either the fair or the unfair donor. We found that infants looked longer when the antisocial actions were directed towards the unfair rather than the fair donor. These findings support the view that infants are able to evaluate agents based on their distributive actions and suggest that the foundations of human socio-moral competence are acquired independently of parental feedback and linguistic experience.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Selected frames from familiarization events shown to infants in Experiments 1 to 3.Each familiarization event started with the two stars present in the upper part of the screen. A donor entered with two strawberries and gave them to the stars. The donor performed either an equal distribution (the fair donor), giving one strawberry to each star, or an unequal distribution (the unfair donor), giving both strawberries to the same star. At the end of the distribution event the donor left the screen.
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pone-0110553-g001: Selected frames from familiarization events shown to infants in Experiments 1 to 3.Each familiarization event started with the two stars present in the upper part of the screen. A donor entered with two strawberries and gave them to the stars. The donor performed either an equal distribution (the fair donor), giving one strawberry to each star, or an unequal distribution (the unfair donor), giving both strawberries to the same star. At the end of the distribution event the donor left the screen.

Mentions: Donor familiarisation phase: During this phase infants saw two donors, depicted as a blue square and a yellow triangle with eyes and mouth, each performing two distributions towards two identical green stars, i.e. the recipients (Figure 1). Each distributive event started with the two stars present, one on the left side and one on the right side in the upper part of the screen. Then, one of the donors entered from the right or the left side carrying two red strawberries and gave them to the stars. Each donor performed either two fair (equal) distributions, giving one strawberry to each star, or two unfair (unequal) distributions, giving both strawberries to the same star. For half of the participants the order of the events in the donor familiarisation phase was Equal Unequal Unequal Equal, and for the other half the order was Unequal Equal Equal Unequal. Each time a star received a strawberry, it jumped twice. Information concerning the agency of the stars therefore included both morphological cues (eyes, mouth) and dynamic cues (autonomous motion, reaction-at-a-distance). At the end of each distribution event, the donors left the screen the same way they had entered and a new distributive event started.


Infants distinguish antisocial actions directed towards fair and unfair agents.

Meristo M, Surian L - PLoS ONE (2014)

Selected frames from familiarization events shown to infants in Experiments 1 to 3.Each familiarization event started with the two stars present in the upper part of the screen. A donor entered with two strawberries and gave them to the stars. The donor performed either an equal distribution (the fair donor), giving one strawberry to each star, or an unequal distribution (the unfair donor), giving both strawberries to the same star. At the end of the distribution event the donor left the screen.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4199735&req=5

pone-0110553-g001: Selected frames from familiarization events shown to infants in Experiments 1 to 3.Each familiarization event started with the two stars present in the upper part of the screen. A donor entered with two strawberries and gave them to the stars. The donor performed either an equal distribution (the fair donor), giving one strawberry to each star, or an unequal distribution (the unfair donor), giving both strawberries to the same star. At the end of the distribution event the donor left the screen.
Mentions: Donor familiarisation phase: During this phase infants saw two donors, depicted as a blue square and a yellow triangle with eyes and mouth, each performing two distributions towards two identical green stars, i.e. the recipients (Figure 1). Each distributive event started with the two stars present, one on the left side and one on the right side in the upper part of the screen. Then, one of the donors entered from the right or the left side carrying two red strawberries and gave them to the stars. Each donor performed either two fair (equal) distributions, giving one strawberry to each star, or two unfair (unequal) distributions, giving both strawberries to the same star. For half of the participants the order of the events in the donor familiarisation phase was Equal Unequal Unequal Equal, and for the other half the order was Unequal Equal Equal Unequal. Each time a star received a strawberry, it jumped twice. Information concerning the agency of the stars therefore included both morphological cues (eyes, mouth) and dynamic cues (autonomous motion, reaction-at-a-distance). At the end of each distribution event, the donors left the screen the same way they had entered and a new distributive event started.

Bottom Line: One donor always distributed the goods equally, while the other performed unequal distributions by giving everything to one recipient.In the test phase, a third agent hit or took resources away from either the fair or the unfair donor.These findings support the view that infants are able to evaluate agents based on their distributive actions and suggest that the foundations of human socio-moral competence are acquired independently of parental feedback and linguistic experience.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Göteborg, Sweden.

ABSTRACT
Three experiments provide evidence of an incipient sense of fairness in preverbal infants. Ten-month-old infants were shown cartoon videos with two agents, the 'donors', who distributed resources to two identical recipients. One donor always distributed the goods equally, while the other performed unequal distributions by giving everything to one recipient. In the test phase, a third agent hit or took resources away from either the fair or the unfair donor. We found that infants looked longer when the antisocial actions were directed towards the unfair rather than the fair donor. These findings support the view that infants are able to evaluate agents based on their distributive actions and suggest that the foundations of human socio-moral competence are acquired independently of parental feedback and linguistic experience.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus