Human infants' learning of social structures: The case of dominance hierarchy
|Title||Human infants' learning of social structures: The case of dominance hierarchy|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Authors||Mascaro, O., and G. Csibra|
|Journal title||Psychological Science|
This paper investigates whether human infants go beyond learning about individual social partners and their relations, and form hypotheses about how social groups are organized. We test 15-month-olds’ capacity to represent social dominance hierarchies with more than two agents. Infants find it harder to memorise dominance relations presented in an order that hinders the incremental formation of a single structure (Study 1). Thus, infants attempt to build structures incrementally, relation by relation, thereby simplifying the complex problem of recognizing a social structure. Infants also find circular dominance structures harder to process than linear ones (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.