Early Pro-social Development

Check out our research findings to determine how parent-child interactions foster cooperation, what babies understand about working together and what babies think of good versus bad co-operators.
Check out our research findings to determine how parent-child interactions foster cooperation, what babies understand about working together and what babies think of good versus bad co-operators.

How do parent-child interactions foster cooperation?

What we wanted to know: Children gain valuable experience about what it means to cooperate by playing games with peers, siblings, adults and their own parents.

Previous research tells us that children understand cooperation within the first two years of their lives and this shows us the developmental trajectory of cooperative competence in early childhood. In this study we wanted to find out how parent-child interactions foster children’s cooperative ability.

What we did: In this study, parent and child took part in cooperative games and we tried to identify the approaches parents took to teach their children how to play a new cooperative game.

The child then played the same games with the experimenter. Here we tried to find out whether a particular parental teaching style is related to a child’s competence in cooperative activities. We are currently in the process of analyzing the results.

Future Directions: We will be running the same study in Iran to explore whether there are any differences between parents from Iran and New Zealand in how they teach their children about cooperative games.

What do babies understand about working together?

What we wanted to know: Can 12-month-old infants identify situations in which actors are cooperating to attain a common-goal and situations in which actors are working independently to attain their individual goals? Previous studies have shown that 14-month-olds can identify cooperative and non-cooperative settings.

What we did: In the habituation phase, babies were repeatedly shown two actors working together to get a toy from inside a box. Once the babies habituated to this, babies were shown one of the two actors grabbing either the toy or the box. If babies looked longer when the person grabbed the box (compared to if the person grabbed the toy), this would suggest to us that babies have worked out that the toy was the cooperative goal.

What we found: Preliminary results suggest that 12-month-old infants do not yet understand that the actions of cooperating partners are linked to the same goal. Thus, 12- to 14- months may be a transitional period for infants’ understanding of cooperation.

What do babies think of good versus bad co-operators?

What we wanted to know: We know that by 14 months, infants already understand that cooperation is a task where two people work together to achieve a goal. In this study, we wanted to find out if babies use information from watching others cooperate to predict how they might behave in the future.

What we did: Babies were shown a series of videos in which two people were building a toy tower. In some cases, they were successful, and in other cases, they were not. Using eye-tracker technology, we were able to measure where the infants were looking!

What we found: Preliminary results suggest that infants don’t use information about an individual’s past behaviour to make judgments about how they would behave in a different situation that involves cooperation. But we still have to look at the eye tracking results to see what other interesting things it tells us!

Check out our other Hot Topics on: Source: This article was written by Early Learning Lab.

You might also be interested in ...

Understanding disruptive behaviour

Understanding disruptive behaviour

What constitutes ‘disruptive’ behaviour in young kids is very subjective. However, by looking deeper at your child’s behaviour it will help you understand more about why they act in a certain way. Behaviour that can appear ‘naughty’ or ‘disruptive’ to you, is often just your child’s way of communicating an unmet need as they try to figure out their way in the world.
Early Language Learning

Early Language Learning

We often have questions about what babies know or understand very early in life. Babies can’t answer these questions using words but they can tell us a lot by what they look at and for how long. By using the habituation technique we are able to find answers to some interesting research questions and add to our understanding of infant cognition.

join us

Join us on social media for all our latest news.
facebook twitter pinterestInstagram

sign up

Sign up and receive our latest newsletters.
First/Last Name*
In order to assist us in reducing spam, please type the characters you see:
spam control image

contact us
advertise with us