Preference for Similar Others: A Replication and Extension


Carolynn Kohn: 0000-0002-2156-4898

Document Type




Conference Title

Annual Convention of the Association for Behavior Analysis International


San Antonio, TX

Conference Dates

May 22-26, 2015

Date of Presentation



Mahajan and Wynn (2012) contend infants’ preference for similar others is innate, not learned, and influenced by the salience of the similarity; they also contend this helps explain behaviors such as genocide and prejudice. In their study, infants (N=32) were more likely to choose the puppet that liked the same food when the infants chose the food first (high salience) then chose a puppet (84%) compared to infants (N = 16) who chose a puppet and then chose a food (44%) (low salience). Limitations of their study include potential parental bias (i.e., parents were not blind to infants’ food preference in the high salience condition) and use of a single choice measure. Our replication of the low salience condition (N = 20 infant-parent dyads) will include an extension in which (1) half of the parents indicate their infant’s food preference before viewing the puppet show (i.e., creating “high saliency” only for parents, not infants) and (2) a within subjects measure in which all infants will choose a puppet five times. Data collected thus far (n = 1; no questionnaire condition) show the infant chose the dissimilar puppet across all five choice trials. Results and implications are discussed.

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