Infants Decide Social Dominance According to the Size
Scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles and the Harvard University made an interesting observation. They observed that the infants use the size of an individual as a criterion to predict who between the two individuals will win during a conflict. They might even start out with the bias that the larger parent will be the dominant one at home.
The scientists studied about 144 infants in the age group of 8 months-16 months. They gauged the reactions of the infants to the videos of the cartoon figures of various sizes. When a smaller figure overpowered the larger one the babies watched it for a much longer period, on an average of 20 seconds when compared to 12 seconds. Earlier studies show that babies watch things for a longer duration when they are surprised.
The study suggests that we are either born with some understanding about social rank based on size or develop it at an early age. According to George Hollich, Associate Professor (Developmental Psychology) at the Purdue University, the research proves that infants might be aware of the social dominance based of the size alone. This association between dominance and the comparative size is found in humans as well as animals.
The researchers feel that infants come into this world with a sophisticated set of basic concepts. They use them to learn more about this world. This learning is crucial for their survival in the society, establishing social relationships and prospering. The study is published in the journal Science (Jan 28).