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Three Poster presentations at BCCCD18

Three Poster presentations at BCCCD18

09.12.2017

Three Poster presentations at the Budapest CEU Conference on Cogntive Development, 4-6 January 2018

The two routes to become a leader: Dominance vs Prestige

Jesús Bas, Núria Sebastián-Gallés

Infants represent leader-follower relationships at very early stages of development (Bas, J. et al, in prep.). However, what intuitions do infants have about who should be the leader? There are two different ways of assigning social status to agents in a group: dominance and prestige. It has been shown that infants understand both systems (Bas, J. & Sebastián-Gallés, N., under review; Mascaro, O. & Csibra, G., 2012). Given that social status drives concepts of leadership, here we compare whether being the dominant agent or the prestigious agent helps infants predict the emergence of the leader role. We recorded 18-month-olds’ eye gaze as they watched short animations, in which one observer agent watches another two agents successfully pick up a ball individually. However, when these two agents both want to pick it up at the same time, only one of them prevails (always the same agent). Critically we manipulated how the winner prevailed, through communication (prestige) or using force (dominance). After this familiarization, the observer agent chooses to follow one of the other agents - either the "winner" or "loser" of the ball task. We measured infants’ anticipation preceding the observer agent’s choice of who to follow, and the total looking time after the observer agent makes its decision. Preliminary analyses using both measures indicate that infants expect the observer to select as a leader the prestigious winner. Data collection for the dominant winner is still under way, however preliminary data do not point the same direction.
 
The Role of Native Speaker Preference on Infants’ Learning of Novel Tunes 
 
Didar Karadağ, Gaye Soley, Nuria Sebastián-Gallés 
 
Recent evidence suggests that infants exhibit increased attention to stimuli after listening to a native speaker’s speech (Begus, Gliga, & Southgate, 2016; Marno et al., 2016). These findings have been interpreted as early attentional biases for native speakers (Kinzler, Dupoux, & Spelke, 2007) reflecting infants’ preference for potential sources of information. However, the question of whether early social biases lead to better learning of new information remains unclear. This study aimed to ask whether infants’ selective listening to novel tunes introduced by native speakers (Soley & Sebastián-Gallés, 2015) also extends to better learning of those tunes. To answer this question, three experiments were conducted (n = 16 per experiment) with 7-10 months old infants. Using a habituation paradigm, Experiment 1 showed that infants cannot readily discriminate two novel tunes, when the second tune is a slightly modified version of the original tune. Accordingly, in the next experiments infants were initially familiarized with the original tune that was either introduced by a native speaker (Experiment 2) or a foreign speaker (Experiment 3). After this brief familiarization phase, infants’ discrimination of the original tune from its modified version was measured using a habituation paradigm. While some learning happened in both conditions, results show that infants could discriminate the two tunes in the native language condition, but not in the foreign language condition. These findings suggest that early attentional biases might have important ramifications for young infants and that infants might more readily acquire information when it is introduced by native speakers.
 
The role of communication in guiding infants' social inferences

Marc Colomer, Nuria Sebastian-Galles
 
It has been proposed that from early on language is used as a social marker of identity (Liberman et al., 2017). In the current study we investigate an alternative proposal; the role of communication in guiding infants' social inferences. In three studies we present videos to 15-months-old infants adapting Martin et al. (2012)'s procedure. Studies-1&2 investigate whether infants expect foreign speech to transfer information from a Communicator to a Recipient when both speak the same foreign language (study-1), or when the Recipient speaks the infants' native language (study-2). Infants see first two video-clips where each individual introduce herself. Then, the Communicator appears alone and selectively grasps one of two objects (target). Next, the Recipient appears alone showing no preference by grasping both objects. In the test phase the two agents appear together and the Communicator can no longer reach the objects. She turns to the Recipient and speaks. In study-1 we hypothesize that infants will expect unfamiliar speech to transfer information between individuals who share the same language. We predict participants to be more surprised when the Recipient brings the non-target object over the Communicator's face than when she handles the target one. Conversely, in study-2 we predict that participants will behave similarly when the Recipient handles either of the two objects. As a control of study-2, in study-3 the Recipient knows the Communicator's preference and communication is not required to cooperate. We predict that infants will expect the Recipient to handle the target object rather than the non-target one.

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