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Toddlers Like Individuals with High-status, and Avoid Bullies: Study

Further, the researchers explored whether toddlers would still prefer the winning puppet if it won by using brute force

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Toddlers
Toddlers like high-status winners, but avoid bullies. Pixabay
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Toddlers like high-status individuals who win, but prefer to avoid those who win conflicts by using force, a study has found.

The results demonstrated how toddlers use social cues and prefer to affiliate themselves with the winners of conflicts and avoid those who they have seen yield to others.

“The way you behave in a conflict of interest reveals something about your social status,” said lead author Ashley Thomas from University of California, Irvine.

“Across all social animal species, those with a lower social status will yield to those above them in the hierarchy. We wanted to explore whether small children also judge high and low status individuals differently,” she added.

For the study, published in the journal Nature Human Behavior, the team included a small group of toddlers aged 21 to 31 months, and presented them with two puppets that attempt to cross a stage in opposite directions.

Toddlers
Representational image. Pixabay

When the puppets meet in the middle, they block each other’s way. One puppet then yields to the other and moves aside, allowing the other puppet to continue and reach its goal of crossing the stage.

The majority of the kids reached for the puppet that had “won” the conflict on the stage — the unyielding puppet, indicating that they preferred the high-status puppet — the one that others voluntarily yield to.

Further, the researchers explored whether toddlers would still prefer the winning puppet if it won by using brute force.

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The team exposed a new group of toddlers to the same puppet show, but this time one puppet would forcefully knock the other puppet over to reach its goal. Now a majority of children avoided the winning puppet and reached for the victim instead.

“Our results indicate that the fundamental social rules and motives that undergird core social relationships may be inherent in human nature, which itself developed during thousands of years of living together in cultural communities,” the researchers said. (IANS)

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Study Suggests That Infants Can Distinguish Between Leaders and Bullies

The infants expected obedience only when the bully remained in the scene and could harm them again if they disobeyed, the researchers said

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Infants, baby
Fathers’ Exercise Impacts the Health of Their Children. Pixabay

Infants, by the age of 2, have the potential to distinguish between the power asserted by a leader and a bully, finds a study, shedding light on how babies make sense of the world.

The study found that 21-month-old infants can distinguish between respect-based power asserted by a leader and fear-based power wielded by a bully.

“Our results provide evidence that infants in the second year of life can already distinguish between leaders and bullies,” said Renee Baillargeon, Professor at the University of Illinois.

“Infants understand that with leaders, you have to obey them even when they are not around; with bullies, though, you have to obey them only when they are around,” she added.

For the study, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Baillargeon developed a series of animations depicting cartoon characters interacting with an individual portrayed as a leader, a bully or a likeable person with no evident power.

She measured infants’ eye-gazing behaviour as they watched the same animations.

Infants
Representational image. Pixabay

“In one experiment, the infants watched a scenario in which a character, portrayed either as a leader or a bully, gave an order to three protagonists, who initially obeyed,” Baillargeon said. “The character then left the scene and the protagonists either continued to obey or disobeyed.”

The infants detected a violation when the protagonists disobeyed the leader but not when they disobeyed the bully, Baillargeon found.

In another experiment, the team tested whether the infants were responding to the likeability of the characters in the scenarios, rather than to their status as leaders or bullies.

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“In general, when the leader left the scene, the infants expected the protagonists to continue to obey the leader,” Baillargeon said.

However, when the bully left, the infants had no particular expectation: The protagonists might continue to obey out of fear, or they might disobey because the bully was gone.

The infants expected obedience only when the bully remained in the scene and could harm them again if they disobeyed, the researchers said. (IANS)