Title

Assessing Infants' Social Evaluations: Virtual Replication and Extension Using Repeated Measures

Lead Author Major

Psychology

Lead Author Status

Junior

Second Author Major

Psychology

Second Author Status

Junior

Third Author Major

Psychology

Third Author Status

Sophomore

Fourth Author Major

Psychology

Fourth Author Status

Sophomore

Fifth Author Major

Psychology

Fifth Author Status

Junior

Format

Poster Presentation (Research Day, April 30)

Faculty Mentor Name

Carolynn Kohn

Faculty Mentor Department

Psychology

Graduate Student Mentor Name

Samantha Crooks

Graduate Student Mentor Department

Psychology

Additional Mentors

Mariel Montes, m_montes1@u.pacific.edu, Psychology

Alondra Del Real, a_delreal2@u.pacific.edu, Psychology

Mark Matz, m_matz@u.pacific.edu, Psychology

Abstract/Artist Statement

Highly cited research on infant social evaluations suggests that infants have innate, or unlearned, morality. Typically, infants’ (innate) preferences (for moral others) are evaluated by having them watch a live puppet show of a character who helps another puppet and one who hinders the puppet. Infants are then prompted to make a choice between the helper and hinderer puppets. The first puppet the infant reaches for is measured as their choice. In these studies, more infants (approx. 67%) reach for the helper puppet more than the hinderer puppet, and these data are held up as evidence of infants’ unlearned sense of morality. However, these data may not be reliable because infants make only one choice. To address this limitation, other researchers have had infants make several choices after a single puppet show. However, critics of these studies have contended that an infant’s first choice is their “true choice” and multiple choices might be confusing for the infant. Our study addressed this limitation and critique. We assessed six infants virtually (via Zoom) due to COVID-19 restrictions. Infants first watched a puppet show video depicting a helper puppet and a hinderer puppet, then were prompted to choose between them; this sequence was repeated three additional times, so that infants always watched puppet shows prior to making a puppet choice. We observed no clear patterns in infant choices and several infants failed to make a choice. Results suggest a virtual format may not be suitable to evaluate infants’ choices. Given the growing body of failed replications, researchers ought to examine infants’ choice stability to understand the conditions, if they exist, under which infants make reliable choices.

Location

Information Commons, William Knox Holt Memorial Library and Learning Center

Start Date

30-4-2022 10:00 AM

End Date

30-4-2022 12:00 PM

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Apr 30th, 10:00 AM Apr 30th, 12:00 PM

Assessing Infants' Social Evaluations: Virtual Replication and Extension Using Repeated Measures

Information Commons, William Knox Holt Memorial Library and Learning Center

Highly cited research on infant social evaluations suggests that infants have innate, or unlearned, morality. Typically, infants’ (innate) preferences (for moral others) are evaluated by having them watch a live puppet show of a character who helps another puppet and one who hinders the puppet. Infants are then prompted to make a choice between the helper and hinderer puppets. The first puppet the infant reaches for is measured as their choice. In these studies, more infants (approx. 67%) reach for the helper puppet more than the hinderer puppet, and these data are held up as evidence of infants’ unlearned sense of morality. However, these data may not be reliable because infants make only one choice. To address this limitation, other researchers have had infants make several choices after a single puppet show. However, critics of these studies have contended that an infant’s first choice is their “true choice” and multiple choices might be confusing for the infant. Our study addressed this limitation and critique. We assessed six infants virtually (via Zoom) due to COVID-19 restrictions. Infants first watched a puppet show video depicting a helper puppet and a hinderer puppet, then were prompted to choose between them; this sequence was repeated three additional times, so that infants always watched puppet shows prior to making a puppet choice. We observed no clear patterns in infant choices and several infants failed to make a choice. Results suggest a virtual format may not be suitable to evaluate infants’ choices. Given the growing body of failed replications, researchers ought to examine infants’ choice stability to understand the conditions, if they exist, under which infants make reliable choices.