Importance of Replication and Experimental Analysis in Behavioral Science: Examination of Factors Affecting Infants Choices


Carolynn Kohn: 0000-0002-2156-4898

Document Type

Conference Presentation



Conference Title

Annual Convention of the Association for Behavior Analysis International


Denver, CO

Conference Dates

May 25-29, 2017

Date of Presentation



Researchers suggest individuals preference for others similar to themselves is innate, not learned. Mahajan and Wynn (2012) asked infants seated in their parents lap (N = 32) to choose between two foods, watch a show in which one puppet liked one food but not the other and the second puppet expressed the opposite preferences, and then choose one of the puppets; more infants (84%) chose the similar puppet, the one with the same food preference as the infant. These data are cited as evidence for our innate preference for similar others. We replicated and extended their methodology by including a parent bias manipulation and within-subject repeated measures. Infants (N = 24) were randomly assigned to make their first puppet choice before (Group 1) or after (Group 2) the parent bias manipulation. Few group differences were noted. On the first trial, a total of 37.5% of infants chose the similar puppet. Across at least 80% of trials, 12.5% of infants chose the similar puppet; 75% chose a puppet on the same side. Moreover, 16 (67%) parents reported their infants had little history with the two study foods. Results suggest factors other than innate preference account for infants puppet selections.

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