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Psychol Sci. 2013 Apr;24(4):589-94. doi: 10.1177/0956797612457785. Epub 2013 Mar 4.

Not like me = bad: infants prefer those who harm dissimilar others.

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Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, British Columbia V6T 1Z4, Canada.


Adults tend to like individuals who are similar to themselves, and a growing body of recent research suggests that even infants and young children prefer individuals who share their attributes or personal tastes over those who do not. In this study, we examined the nature and development of attitudes toward similar and dissimilar others in human infancy. Across two experiments with combined samples of more than 200 infant participants, we found that 9- and 14-month-old infants prefer individuals who treat similar others well and treat dissimilar others poorly. A developmental trend was observed, such that 14-month-olds' responses were more robust than were 9-month-olds'. These findings suggest that the identification of common and contrasting personal attributes influences social attitudes and judgments in powerful ways, even very early in life.

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