Can collaborative activities help infants predict
future collaborative behaviour?
“If you want to be incrementally better: Be competitive.
If you want to be exponentially better: Be cooperative.”
By 14 months, infants understand collaboration as a task where
people work together to achieve a common goal (Henderson &
By 21 months, infants respond to interruptions in a
collaborative task - regardless of whether the task involved
complementary or parallel roles
Infants are also sensitive to intention that caused the partner to
(Warneken, Grafenhain&Tomasello, 2011)
Research Aim 1:
To see if infants can use previous cooperative behaviour of
others to predict future cooperative behaviour
Familiarization (6 blocks of 2 videos)
New Actor still
Good Condition Intentional Condition Accidental Condition
“Want to build
“You go first”
New actor still
Good vs Neutral
Bad vs Neutral
If infants form judgments about the actors from the
familiarization trials, they might expect good collaborators to
collaborate well when paired with someone new.
Similarly, they might expect bad collaborators to collaborate
poorly with someone new
In the accidental condition, infants might show similar looking
Research Aim 2:
To explore what cues infants pay attention to during
Area of interest
Duration of fixation
My name is Rachel and today I’ll be telling you about the study I’m working on this year.
As you heard from Hedieh before, collaboration is fundamental to our everyday lives. As a species, humans work together to achieve many different types of things. And in everyday functioning, we collaborate with others all the time. For example, working in a group project, or painting a house. Children cooperate with others from very early on too.. Even before their first birthday, infants coordinate their actions with others in games such as peek-a-boo. During early childhood, children play many social games that involve cooperation.
So let me tell you about some recent findings:Infants as young as 14 months understand that collaboration is a task where two or more people work together to achieve a common goal. Warneken and colleagues found that by 21 months, infants try to re-engage their partner when they stop engaging in the collaborative task. And this is regardless of whether the task involved complementary or parallel roles. This means that infants by this age view the partner as a collaborative partner rather than just a social tool.In the same study, they also found that infants were responsive to the intention that caused the partner to stop engaging in the activity. And more interestingly, infants made more attempts to re-engage the partner when the partner was unable compared to when they were unwilling… So let’s think about our own experiences, if we were to partner up with someone to do a task, would you rather be paired up with someone who Is committed and dependable? Or someone who is unpredictable and unreliable? But how would we know if they were good or bad? It’s possible that we’ve worked with them before and know what kind of partner they are… OR we might have information from watching them work with someone else…
This is probably someone you don’t want to work with. So I wanted to find out if babies, like adults, can use information from cooperative tasks to form perceptions about other people? And would they use this information to predict how they might behave in the future? And possibly, would it guide their own behaviour?
To do this, we have modified the traditional looking time paradigm and we will be presenting these different elements on an eyetracker.Currently I am looking at infants between 15-17 months of age.
First of all, infants are presented with a still shot of the actors who will be in the familiarization trials. We can also see if infants form any initial preference for any of these actors.
There are three conditions: Good, Intentional and Accidental. They refer to the person that will be appearing in the test trials.. Let me explain..In the familiarization trials, infants see two people at a time build a tower. In some cases, they build successfully but in other cases, they do not – Good collaborationa and bad collaboration. As I said before, infants see 6 blocks of 2 videos during familiarization (12 videos altogether). So each block consists of an instance of a good collaboration and a bad collaboration. This is what it looks like: (insert video?)Refer to dialogue: “Hi” “Hi”…..In a case of good collaboration: Each of the actors get to place all their cups and asks “Want to knock it over?” and the person knocks it over. In the bad intentional collaboration: They start off ok, but when the 5th cup is about to be placed, the “bad” collaborator intentionally knocks it over and says “There!” And the partner looks at him with a shocked expression.Next, we show them a still shot that will introduce the new actor who appears in the test trials. During the test trials, infants will see one of the actors from the initial videos paired up with someone new. Again, they are shown instances of good collaboration and bad collaboration. We want to see if infants formed judgments about the actors earlier, and use this information to judge how this person will act with someone new. By using looking time, we are able to see if they are surprised in either of these trials. Like I mentioned before, the respective conditions actually refer to the person that infants will see during test trials. So for example in the good condition, the “good collaborator” from familiarization will be paired with a new person. And in the intentional condition, the “intentional (bad) collaborator” is paired with someone new. We also included another condition where instead of someone intentionally knocking the tower over, they sneeze which accidentally knocks the tower over and go “Whoops”. This is so we can see if infants take others’ intention into account and not just think that someone is bad at doing the task.
After the test trials, infants will see videos of the actors turning on a light. They will use either their head or their elbow. Afterwards, they will be presented with the light and we are interested to see if they might imitate one of these behaviours.We included this task to see if infants have a negativity bias – when negative information is preferentially attended to. Very briefly, In Hamlin & Wynn, they found that infants as young as 3 months of age have a negativity bias. That is, they showed an aversion to antisocial others, but not an attraction to prosocial others.Thus, in our study, we want to see if infants have a preference of whom they imitate.
If infants formed judgments about the actors during familiarization, they might be surprised to see them act in a way that is inconsistent to previous behaviour when paired with someone new. That is, they will look longer. So for example, if they recognized a person as a “good collaborator”, they might expect them to collaborate well in the future even if it’s with a new person. So they might look longer when this collaborator intentionally knocks the tower over. Similarly, they might expect “bad collaborators” to be bad all the time.As for the accidental condition, the intention of the actor was to build the tower, so infants might be less surprised to see the person building well with someone new.And for the imitation task, if infants do show a negativity bias, we might see them imitating less from the intentional bad collaborator and not see the opposite pattern when it’s the good/neutral pair.
By using the eye tracker, we will be able to see where infants are looking during the tower building. This will give us an insight as to the sorts of cues infants use to identify collaborative activities. We are also interested in seeing if there will be a difference in the kinds of information they attend to during good and bad collaboration.
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