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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 the test event used in Experiment 2.The test events began with the fair and unfair distributors present on the lower side of the screen. Both agents had one strawberry above and very close to them. An arm then came down from the upper side of the screen, stopped for 0.5 seconds in the middle of the screen between the two distributors and then approached one of them. The hand next took away the strawberry from one of the distributors and moved out of the scene, disappearing from the scene the same way it had entered.
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pone-0110553-g004: Selected frames from the test event used in Experiment 2.The test events began with the fair and unfair distributors present on the lower side of the screen. Both agents had one strawberry above and very close to them. An arm then came down from the upper side of the screen, stopped for 0.5 seconds in the middle of the screen between the two distributors and then approached one of them. The hand next took away the strawberry from one of the distributors and moved out of the scene, disappearing from the scene the same way it had entered.

Mentions: The procedure and the apparatus were the same as in Experiment 1. Also, the familiarisation events were identical to the ones used in the previous experiment (see Figure 1; note that in Experiment 2, the two recipients in the donor familiarization events were yellow triangles, while the donors were a blue circle and a green star). The only difference concerned the test events. The test events began with both distributors present on the lower side of the screen and a drum sound to attract infants' attention to the screen. Both distributors had one strawberry above and very close to them (see Figure 4). Then an arm came down from the upper side of the screen, stopped for 0.5 seconds in the middle of the screen between the two distributors and then approached one of them. The hand next took away the strawberry from one of the distributors and moved out of the scene with it, disappearing from the scene the same way it had entered. The scene then froze to still, showing the two distributors, one with a strawberry above it and the other without.


Infants distinguish antisocial actions directed towards fair and unfair agents.

Meristo M, Surian L - PLoS ONE (2014)

Selected frames from the test event used in Experiment 2.The test events began with the fair and unfair distributors present on the lower side of the screen. Both agents had one strawberry above and very close to them. An arm then came down from the upper side of the screen, stopped for 0.5 seconds in the middle of the screen between the two distributors and then approached one of them. The hand next took away the strawberry from one of the distributors and moved out of the scene, disappearing from the scene the same way it had entered.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone-0110553-g004: Selected frames from the test event used in Experiment 2.The test events began with the fair and unfair distributors present on the lower side of the screen. Both agents had one strawberry above and very close to them. An arm then came down from the upper side of the screen, stopped for 0.5 seconds in the middle of the screen between the two distributors and then approached one of them. The hand next took away the strawberry from one of the distributors and moved out of the scene, disappearing from the scene the same way it had entered.
Mentions: The procedure and the apparatus were the same as in Experiment 1. Also, the familiarisation events were identical to the ones used in the previous experiment (see Figure 1; note that in Experiment 2, the two recipients in the donor familiarization events were yellow triangles, while the donors were a blue circle and a green star). The only difference concerned the test events. The test events began with both distributors present on the lower side of the screen and a drum sound to attract infants' attention to the screen. Both distributors had one strawberry above and very close to them (see Figure 4). Then an arm came down from the upper side of the screen, stopped for 0.5 seconds in the middle of the screen between the two distributors and then approached one of them. The hand next took away the strawberry from one of the distributors and moved out of the scene with it, disappearing from the scene the same way it had entered. The scene then froze to still, showing the two distributors, one with a strawberry above it and the other without.

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