Infants Choose Those Who Defer in Conflicts

  title={Infants Choose Those Who Defer in Conflicts},
  author={Ashley J. Thomas and Barbara W. Sarnecka},
  journal={Current Biology},
10 Citations
Infants' preferences for approachers over repulsers shift between 4 and 8 months of age.
Despite its adaptive value for social life, the emergence and the development of the ability to detect agents that cause aversive interactions and distinguish them from potentially affiliative agents
Children’s social evaluation toward prestige-based and dominance-based powerholders
Objective Social scientists have suggested two typical ways of acquiring social power: dominance approach (gaining social power by applying violence, coercion, threat, and punishment) and prestige
Adopted Utility Calculus: Origins of a Concept of Social Affiliation.
  • Lindsey J. Powell
  • Psychology
    Perspectives on psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science
  • 2022
To successfully navigate their social world, humans need to understand and map enduring relationships between people: Humans need a concept of social affiliation. Here I propose that the initial
Early concepts of intimacy: Young humans use saliva sharing to infer close relationships
It is found that children, toddlers, and infants infer that dyads who share saliva have a distinct relationship, indicating that they can distinguish closeness very early in life.
The boss is not always right: Norwegian preschoolers do not selectively endorse the testimony of a novel dominant agent.
It is shown that 249 three- to six-year-olds randomly endorsed the word-labels of dominant and subordinate agents in the egalitarian culture of Norway, using stimuli which solicit dominance inferences among infants and manipulating anonymity across studies to control for egalitarian desirability bias.
First steps towards an understanding of procedural fairness.
It is suggested that human infants can attend to departures from impartiality and, in their second year, they already show an initial understanding of procedural fairness.
Intuitive sociology.
Do nonhuman animals reason about prestige‐based status?


Toddlers prefer those who win but not when they win by force
It is shown that toddlers preferred a puppet that had won a conflict against another puppet—but only when it won without using force, which suggests that toddlers consider social status when making social evaluations.
Social evaluation by preverbal infants
It is shown that 6- and 10-month-old infants take into account an individual’s actions towards others in evaluating that individual as appealing or aversive: infants prefer an individual who helps another to one who hinders another, prefer a helping individual to a neutral individual, and prefer a neutralindividual to a hindering individual.
Effect of Status on Social Reasoning ( Cummins 1998 )
Sociality, the formation of social groups by a species, is often seen as an evolved solution to some of life’s most basic problems, such as how to obtain food, how to successfully reproduce and care
Representation of stable social dominance relations by human infants
Infants’ demonstrated understanding of social dominance reflects the cognitive underpinning of humans’ capacity to represent social relations, which may be evolutionarily ancient, and may be shared with nonhuman species.
Infants use relative numerical group size to infer social dominance
It is shown that infants as young as 6 mo of age are capable of detecting dominance relations when provided with an ecologically relevant cue such as social group size, and infants can infer the social dominance relationship between two competing individuals based on the size of the group to which they belong, and expect individuals from a numerically larger group to get their way.
Big and Mighty: Preverbal Infants Mentally Represent Social Dominance
The results suggest that preverbal infants mentally represent social dominance and use a cue that covaries with it phylogenetically, and marks it metaphorically across human cultures and languages, to predict which of two agents is likely to prevail in a conflict of goals.
Transitive inference of social dominance by human infants.
It is suggested that transitive inference may be supported by phylogenetically ancient mechanisms of ordinal representation and visuospatial processing that come online early in human development.
Infants’ Evaluation of Prosocial and Antisocial Agents: A Meta-Analysis
There was evidence of a publication bias, suggesting that the effect size in published studies is likely to be inflated and the distribution of children who chose the prosocial agent in experiments with N = 16 suggested a file-drawer problem.