ERIC Number: EJ1131751
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Mar
Abstractor: As Provided
Transitive Inference of Social Dominance by Human Infants
Gazes, Regina Paxton; Hampton, Robert R.; Lourenco, Stella F.
Developmental Science, v20 n2 Mar 2017
It is surprising that there are inconsistent findings of transitive inference (TI) in young infants given that non-linguistic species succeed on TI tests. To conclusively test for TI in infants, we developed a task within the social domain, with which infants are known to show sophistication. We familiarized 10- to 13-month-olds (M = 11.53 months) to a video of two dominance interactions between three puppets (bear > elephant; hippo > bear) consistent with a dominance hierarchy (hippo > bear > elephant; where ">" denotes greater dominance). Infants then viewed interactions between the two puppets that had not interacted during familiarization. These interactions were either congruent (hippo > elephant) or incongruent (elephant > hippo) with the inferred hierarchy. Consistent with TI, infants looked longer to incongruent than congruent displays. Control conditions ruled out the possibility that infants' expectations were based on stable behaviors specific to individual puppets rather than their inferred transitive dominance relations. We suggest that TI may be supported by phylogenetically ancient mechanisms of ordinal representation and visuospatial processing that come online early in human development.
Descriptors: Inferences, Infants, Control Groups, Tests, Task Analysis, Familiarity, Video Technology, Puppetry, Interaction, Expectation, Infant Behavior, Cognitive Processes, Spatial Ability, Visual Stimuli
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: IOS1146316