Groups' actions trump injunctive reaction in an incidental observation by young children

Turner, Cameron R., Nielsen, Mark and Collier-Baker, Emma (2014) Groups' actions trump injunctive reaction in an incidental observation by young children. PLoS One, 9 9: e107375.1-e107375.10. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0107375

Author Turner, Cameron R.
Nielsen, Mark
Collier-Baker, Emma
Title Groups' actions trump injunctive reaction in an incidental observation by young children
Journal name PLoS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2014-09
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0107375
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 9
Issue 9
Start page e107375.1
End page e107375.10
Total pages 10
Place of publication San Francisco, CA, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Abstract Children's ability to use social information to direct their behavior is key to their survival and development. However, in observing adult behavior, children are confronted with multiple forms of social information that may vary in reliability and adaptiveness. Two of the most well established biases influencing human behavior are: (1) following the majority (majority influence or conformity); and (2) the use of emotional signals. The current experiment aimed to evaluate how children respond when both information about the majority behavior of a group (descriptive norm) and attitudes of the group towards a behavior (injunctive norm, expressed through an emotional reaction) are present and what happens when they are in conflict. We used a method designed to mimic the manner in which children might observe group members' behavior during development. Novel apparatuses were constructed for which there were two discrete actions that could be performed to retrieve a reward. Three-year-olds observed four adults demonstrating one set of actions, followed by a fifth adult who presented an alternative set of actions. The first four adults' injunctive responses to this fifth adult's actions were manipulated between-groups: positive, negative, or neutral. It was found that children preferred to copy the majority action, regardless of the injunctive reaction of the group. We argue that this affirms the adaptive utility of copying the majority.
Keyword Emotion Expressions
Normative Conduct
Focus Theory
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 8 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 9 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Sun, 05 Oct 2014, 00:17:10 EST by System User on behalf of School of Psychology