Using puppets psychologists explore what small children as young as a few months old think about their social environment and whether they can distinguish between “good” and “bad”.
How infants and toddlers react to antisocial others
Hamlin, J. K., Wynn, K., Bloom, P., & Mahajan, N. (2011). How infants and toddlers react to antisocial others. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(50), 19931–19936. http://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1110306108
- Although adults generally prefer helpful behaviors and those who perform them, there are situations (in particular, when the target of an action is disliked) in which overt antisocial acts are seen as appropriate, and those who perform them are viewed positively. The current studies explore the developmental origins of this capacity for selective social evaluation. We find that although 5-mo-old infants uniformly prefer individuals who act positively toward others regardless of the status of the target, 8-mo-old infants selectively prefer characters who act positively toward prosocial individuals and characters who act negatively toward antisocial individuals. Additionally, young toddlers direct positive behaviors toward prosocial others and negative behaviors toward antisocial others. These findings constitute evidence that the nuanced social judgments and actions readily observable in human adults have their foundations in early developing cognitive mechanisms.
- Concepts Development of behavior, Moral cognition, Social cognition
- Relevant research methods Behavioral research/Psychology