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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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Mean looking times at the test events in Experiments 1 to 3.
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pone-0110553-g003: Mean looking times at the test events in Experiments 1 to 3.

Mentions: Infants looked reliably longer at the test event involving the hitting of the unfair donor (M = 11.85 sec, SD = 3.17 sec) than at the event involving the hitting of the fair donor (M = 6.39 sec, SD = 3.55 sec), t(14) = 3.25, p  = .006, two-tailed, partial η2  = .43, see Figure 3. However, the looking times were the opposite of what one would predict following the violation-of-expectation paradigm. That is, if infants expected the anti-social agent to act negatively towards the unfair donor rather than the fair one, and their reactions were mainly determined by noticing that one of the two test events violated such an expectation, they should have looked longer at the test event showing the fair agent being hit. Before discussing the possible explanations for these results, and their implications for current theories of early social-moral competence, we wanted to consolidate our findings in a new experiment showing a different kind of anti-social actions that involves taking away attractive resources (i.e. the anti-social action also used by Hamlin et al.[30].


Infants distinguish antisocial actions directed towards fair and unfair agents.

Meristo M, Surian L - PLoS ONE (2014)

Mean looking times at the test events in Experiments 1 to 3.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone-0110553-g003: Mean looking times at the test events in Experiments 1 to 3.
Mentions: Infants looked reliably longer at the test event involving the hitting of the unfair donor (M = 11.85 sec, SD = 3.17 sec) than at the event involving the hitting of the fair donor (M = 6.39 sec, SD = 3.55 sec), t(14) = 3.25, p  = .006, two-tailed, partial η2  = .43, see Figure 3. However, the looking times were the opposite of what one would predict following the violation-of-expectation paradigm. That is, if infants expected the anti-social agent to act negatively towards the unfair donor rather than the fair one, and their reactions were mainly determined by noticing that one of the two test events violated such an expectation, they should have looked longer at the test event showing the fair agent being hit. Before discussing the possible explanations for these results, and their implications for current theories of early social-moral competence, we wanted to consolidate our findings in a new experiment showing a different kind of anti-social actions that involves taking away attractive resources (i.e. the anti-social action also used by Hamlin et al.[30].

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