The experiences of social partners are important motivators of social action. Can infants use such experiences to make predictions about how social agents will behave? Sixteen-month-old infants were introduced to two social pairs. Initial events established within-pair cooperation as well as between-pair conflict involving an individual from each pair. Following these events, infants looked longer when between-pair members who had never previously interacted now cooperated - instead of conflicted - with each other. Thus, infants tracked the third-person allegiances and inferred that the conflict would generalize across social partnerships. These findings demonstrate a critical feature of early social cognition and promote needed, further research on the role of social allegiances in social cognition across development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience