Human Infants' Learning of Social Structures: The Case of Dominance Hierarchy

Olivier Mascaro, G. Csibra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We tested 15-month-olds' capacity to represent social-dominance hierarchies with more than two agents. Our results showed that infants found it harder to memorize dominance relations that were presented in an order that hindered the incremental formation of a single structure (Study 1). These results suggest that infants attempt to build structures incrementally, relation by relation, thereby simplifying the complex problem of recognizing a social structure. Infants also found circular dominance structures harder to process than linear dominance structures (Study 2). These expectations about the shape of structures may facilitate learning. Our results suggest that infants attempt to represent social structures composed of social relations. They indicate that human infants go beyond learning about individual social partners and their respective relations and form hypotheses about how social groups are organized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-255
Number of pages6
JournalPsychological Science
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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Social Dominance
Learning
Social Hierarchy

Keywords

  • cognitive development
  • infant development
  • naive sociology
  • social cognition
  • social dominance
  • social relations
  • social structure
  • structure learning
  • transitive reasoning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Human Infants' Learning of Social Structures : The Case of Dominance Hierarchy. / Mascaro, Olivier; Csibra, G.

In: Psychological Science, Vol. 25, No. 1, 2014, p. 250-255.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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