Reaction Paper #1
Social evaluation is what we do all the time; we evaluate people around us by looking at their behaviors, and physical attributes. We decide who is friend and who is foe by social evaluation. It is clear that adults rapidly do this, but how about infants? Do they also differentiate people who help, and people who harm?
The authors of the article, Hamlin, et al. hypothesized that preverbal infants do social evaluation. The hypothesis is then confirmed with the results suggesting, “preverbal infants assess individuals on the basis of their behavior towards others” (Hamlin et al. 2007). They prefer a helpful individual to a hinderer, prefer a helper ...view middle of the document...
There may be some differences regarding of this topic between individualistic and collectivistic cultures. In collectivistic cultures, people define themselves as a part of a particular group. They look for each other because they like to be more supportive, compared to people in individualistic cultures in which people tend to be more individualized and competitive. Thus parents in collectivistic cultures may educate their children, even at very young age, to be helpful and to hold helpful people close. Members of collectivistic families help each other in everyday life, thus infants may observe and learn by looking at their helpful parents, which may encourage them to select helpers in such context. So parents may influence their children in a way that they tend to choose helpers and avoid hinderers because this is what their parents and other people in their environment do. The question is where were these experiments done, in an individualistic or a collectivistic culture? Or is there a difference between same studies’ results done in an individualistic culture and collectivistic culture?
Another issue is that there are naïve adults who cannot detect the hinderers, leading to a tragedy of these people being cheated and paid through the nose. However, the study shows us that even infants know how to evaluate the social world. Even very young infants do select helpers, but not hinderers. If so, why can’t these naïve people distinguish other people who may harm them? Do they really can’t differentiate helpers and hinderers? Or, a better question, did they even learn how to evaluate? Maybe, the answer is synaptic...