Login | Register

Are Infants Discriminatory Learners and Helpers? The Influence of a Model’s Reliability on Infants’ Selective Trust

Title:

Are Infants Discriminatory Learners and Helpers? The Influence of a Model’s Reliability on Infants’ Selective Trust

Brooker, Ivy (2013) Are Infants Discriminatory Learners and Helpers? The Influence of a Model’s Reliability on Infants’ Selective Trust. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

[img]
Preview
Text (application/pdf)
Brooker_PHD_f2013.pdf - Accepted Version
1MB

Abstract

The objective of the present dissertation was to examine infants’ selective trust as influenced by different aspects of a model’s reliability. The first study examined whether eighteen-month-old infants would behave differently towards a speaker as a function of how accurately she labeled familiar objects. The behavioral markers of trust examined were whether infants learned a novel word, imitated the speaker’s irrational actions, and helped the speaker obtain an out-of-reach object. In contrast to infants exposed to an accurate speaker, those who interacted with an inaccurate speaker performed more poorly on a word learning task and were less likely to imitate. All infants demonstrated high rates of instrumental helping.
The second study aimed to tease apart the effects of a model’s intent (benevolence or malevolence) and verbal competence (knowledge or ignorance of familiar object labels) on 18-month-olds’ selective trust when both factors were simultaneously presented but independently manipulated. Infants’ non-verbal behaviors indicated that they became impatient with the malevolent experimenter. Infants also, though more modestly, modified their selective learning; while they were less likely to learn a novel word from either an ignorant and malevolent model, they were more likely to imitate the competent but malevolent model. In addition, while none of the infants modified their strong willingness to help, all infants tended to look longer at a neutral image of the experimenter in comparison to that of a stranger.
Finally, the third study examined how 24-month-olds’ selective trust would be affected by the emotional reliability of a familiar model, such as the level of sensitivity of a primary caregiver (coded during a 10-min period of interaction between the dyad). Infants learned novel words better from an emotionally reliable primary caregiver. In addition, higher parental responsiveness and availability predicted better imitation in older children and higher levels of helping in girls. Taken together, these findings are the first to demonstrate that infants consider a model’s verbal, intentional, and emotional reliability when deciding whether to learn but not when deciding to help. Thus, infants’ selective trust appears to be motivated by epistemic and emotional factors.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Brooker, Ivy
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Psychology
Date:6 June 2013
Thesis Supervisor(s):Poulin-Dubois, Diane
ID Code:977444
Deposited By: IVY BROOKER
Deposited On:13 Jan 2014 16:13
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:44
All items in Spectrum are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved. The use of items is governed by Spectrum's terms of access.

Repository Staff Only: item control page

Downloads per month over past year

Back to top Back to top