First Impressions During Infancy: The Impact of Counter-Information
Pospisil, Jacqueline Whitney
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Adults rapidly form impressions of others as positive or negative evaluations. They do this given limited information, and they do not easily change those impressions based on counter-information. Infants also form rapid impressions of others based on limited information. We investigated whether infants change their initial judgments about people when given counter information. The study of fairness is an ideal modality for investigating this question in infants, due to prior research indicating that infants form rapid impressions of fair and unfair agents and choose to associate with fair over unfair agents. We presented 13- and 17-month-old infants with initial information that one person was fair and another was unfair, and then conflicting information where the two actors reversed roles. In Experiment 1 we measured their social preferences at both time points. Extending prior work, infants chose the fair agent after the initial set of information. After receiving conflicting information, infants chose the fair and unfair agents at chance, although some evidence suggested that infants’ responses on the second test trial may have reflected motor perseveration from the first trial. Thus, in Experiments 2 and 3 we measured infants’ preferences only at time point 2 after receiving both sets of information; infants again chose the fair and unfair agents at chance after viewing conflicting information. These findings provide evidence that infants do not stick with their first impressions of people when exposed to information that conflicts with their initial impression, and therefore may not make dispositional inferences of others based on social information.
- Psychology